CityLife Arts

A feast of arts and shopping at Makhelwane Festival in Soweto

The festival 18-20 December sees SMMEs showcase a diverse lifestyle experience in the arts, craft, clothes, food and drink stalls.

By CityLife Arts Writer

This weekend, the place to be for those who want to experience some fun, with Covid-19 protocols strictly observed, is the Makhelwane Festival at Lebo Soweto Backpackers in Orlando West.

A feast of entertainment that includes music and a vibrant market with a wide range of products to shop around and provided by local small business entities, has been lined up at this event supported by Joburg Tourism. “Joburg Tourism is thrilled to be supporting Soweto’s annual Makhelwane Festival, taking place at Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers from 18 – 20 December 2020.

This year’s festival at Lebo’s promises to be a lively place to relax and listen to the sounds of the best local and international jazz performances. The market will provide an opportunity for sector SMMEs to showcase a diverse lifestyle experience in the arts, craft, clothes, food and drink stalls. There will be a tourism information desk in the market to enhance visitor experience and to connect them with the destination.

Tour Operator Khosi Zikalala likes telling stories. All Pictures by Edward Tsumele

“For the past five years, the Makhelwane Festival has evolved and has been defining culture in live music, film, fashion, art and crafts, including a variety of food stalls produced by locals,” says Lumka Dlomo, Destination Marketing Manager, Joburg Tourism. “It is a platform that strongly promotes self-awareness, self-appreciation and overall human excellence, a triumph of multiculturalism and diversity for people of all races, genders, colours, creeds and tastes.”

A tuk Tuk transporting guests at Lebo’s Soweto

The festival aims to attract and promote tourism into Soweto during the festive season with the #VayaSoweto campaign to experience local food, fashion, art and music – and encourage local shopping during holiday season.

The Makhelwane Festival is a subsidiary initiative for township products, with the aim of developing and driving township tourism, to further create sustainable platforms for young, creative entrepreneurs across Joburg. The festival looks beyond domestic tourism with the idea of encouraging people outside of Gauteng and South Africa, to explore Joburg – and especially Soweto. Background The Makhelwane Festival started in 2014 as an annual event in Soweto under the broad remit of providing a place for small businesses, black culture and tourism to thrive.

It is a community based township festival where home owners open up their homes to allow aspiring business owners to showcase their products using their yards.

The Makhelwane Festival emanates from the historic moments of sharing and spending time together as families during the festive season. Back in the days A’boMakhelwane (neighbours) used to visit each other in the spirit of giving and receiving treats, ranging from cookies, ginger beer and meat to celebrate the festive season.

Lebo’s backpackers is now called lebo’s Soweto

The experience was called “iHappy”, and with introduction of Makhelwane Festival, the focus extended to creating a thriving business environment where people travelled from everywhere to celebrate the spirit of togetherness and ubuntu.

The festival features live music, film, fashion, art and craft and a variety of food stalls produced by locals. .To watch the Welcome to Joburg – A City Reimagined campaign, click on this link:

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