Zululand Observer - Weekender
No show for Diwali Festival of Lights
OWING to lack of funding and support, the annual popular Zululand Diwali Festival in Richards Bay will not feature on this year’s calendar.
After 28 years of hosting successful and colourful events which draw over 5 000 attendees, the executive members of the Zululand Diwali Committee are disheartened to postpone the 2018 Festival of Lights until further notice.
Scheduled to have taken place on 3 November, the event has been placed on hold owing to financial constraints.
The committee has struggled to raise sufficient funds as support has dwindled from businessmen who have successfully sponsored this magnificent and colourful event for almost three decades.
The festival’s Public Relations Officer, Rhana Naicker said the committee is dependent on donor funding from the public and private sectors and as many businesses are feeling the financial pinch many have backed out this year.
‘Businessmen have apologised for their lack of support as some have closed their businesses while others are in dire financial straits owing to the recession.
‘It is sad to note that cancelling our annual festival will impact negatively on our surrounding communities and learners.
‘The annual festival drew the masses of diverse ethnic groups on one common platform and learners from the local schools annually showcased their talents to the local and national audience who attend this occasion.
‘The Festival of Lights has great significance in the Indian community. In Zululand, we pride ourselves on encouraging cultural cohesion, appreciation and tolerance of each other’s beliefs.
‘Last year, the great King Goodwill Zwelithini hosted the Diwali Festival at his palace in Nongoma and by virtue of His Majesty’s action more credence has been added to this annual event.
‘Cancelling will cause a blow for the local stall holders and emerging entrepreneurs who prepare the entire year and converge at this occasion to market and sell their products.
‘It will also be felt by the underprivileged and disadvantaged masses who cannot afford to drive to Durban and enjoy the delights of that city’s festival,’ she said.
Diwali Committee President, Spuddy Parasuramen has expressed his deepest sorrow at the decision to postpone the event.
As a pioneer of this initiative, he is devastated to disappoint the locals, but also empathises with the local businesses and their financial situations.
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