NELSON Mandela Bay Metro can now look forward to a festival to end all festivals if last night’s official launch of the Nelson Mandela Bay cultural festival lives up to its promises.
All the speakers at the event emphasized the need for the metro to recognise creative artists and give them their rightful place in society.
Sports, Arts and Culture portfolio Head, Nomamerica Magopeni urged for the revival of the relationship between government and the creative people of the city.
“It is important for social cohesion for us to mobilise the people and bring them closer to government”
Taking to the podium to give the key note address, Deputy Executive Mayor Councillor Chippa Ngcolomba asked all attendees to observe a moment of silence for both the xenophobic attacks across the country and local teacher Jayde Panayiotou who was recently abducted and murdered.
“We must not allow a situation like this to ever happen again, so I think we should mobilise our communities and take a stand against these murderers who kill people and have now found an excuse to continue to do this. We must reject that” he urged.
He highlighted at least three very important objectives that the metro hopes to achieve through during the festival – to showcase local talent on a bigger stage, for the festival to feature annually on the national calender thereby attracting tourists into the metro, and to position the metro as one of the most progressive in the country that must attract investors to continue to invest in it.
“This must become key focus for business and government alike” he said.
“Our cultural activists, our creative and performing artists are scattered all around the other provinces. We must prevent our sons and daughters leaving the province to seek greener pastures in other provinces where they have to be at the mercy of those that belong there.”
Port Elizabeth born and bred member of the Film and Publication board Palesa Kadi was the guest speaker who introduced herself as that African child from the metro – a cultural activist who has been to Cape Town working in Robben Island and is now based in Pretoria.
“I am a cultural activist first before anything else. I do not want to forget where I came from (Eastern Cape) simply because there aren’t any activities that are happening there”
“As a board, we have initiated a programme that looks to educate children from disadvantaged communities and introduce them to the creative industry.
“Because this is home to me, I felt that support should be rendered in its rightful form. So to me I am able to plough back in a meaningful way”
She added that for the metro to make a decision and commit to such a festival meant that there is an agenda, and that agenda is to empower its local artists.
Event organiser, Dr Anele Mbasane of Harmocept Holdings said the city could not continue to sell itself short when it has amazing talent that should be invested in and showcased to the world where they will be recognised.
“We should be able to claim our space in the world through our people. It cannot be that our only claim is that we are the only city in the world that has been named after the world’s icon, the late Nelson Mandela”.
The city along with its key townships and its tourists can look forward to a whole month full of music extravaganza, starting on the July 3 and ending on August 1.
He also promised an international act to perform at a jazz festival on August 1.
The majority of performances will come from the Eastern Cape artists.
Music activist and artist representative Thandile Petshwa of Isingqi Records and the Nelson Mandela Metro Music Association felt that the initiative is part of the solution to the plea by local artists regarding their treatment.