Winnie Mandela Celebrates Birthday at the Soweto Festival Expo

Winnie M Mandela

By Novell Zwange – With just a couple of days to the Soweto Festival, organisers of the annual trade and arts showcase have some great and exciting news. The news is, the legendary  Winnie Mandela is this year celebrating her birthday at the Soweto Festival Expo.

One of South Africa’s most celebrated and respected women, the iconic Mama Winnie Mandela will be at the Soweto Festival Expo on Sunday 26th September to celebrate her birthday with the public at the Soweto TV Stand. This will allow the public a chance to sing and wish Mama Winnie Mandela a happy birthday and celebrate this great day with her.

The Soweto Festival Expo will have a Soweto Homemakers Festival stand, where you can get a chance to learn more about the origins of the Soweto Festival Expo. Fact: The Soweto Festival Expo was known as the Soweto Homemakers Show in the 1980s.

This year, The Soweto Festival boasts 6 entertainment stages with performances by Ntando, 999 artists, Mesh Mapetla and other well known and emerging artists; 300 exhibitors including Kaizer Chiefs, Shoprite, Proudly SA and big name companies.

The Willards KidsZone, Willards Hip Hop stage and YouthZone will be craze with activities all kids and teens can relate to. For the first time, The Soweto Festival Expo will offer a crèche fecility for parents to drop of their kids as they enjoy the Festival Expo.

The first annual Adele Lucas bursary will be announced at the Soweto Festival launch on the 23rd Sept at the University of Johannesburg, Soweto campus where Mr. Richard Mamponya will be the key guest speaker. The Adele Lucas bursary will be awarded to a female honours student at the Faculty of Arts at the University of Johannesburg.

It would be great to get a mention of the above in your news section to inform the public of the great highlights that will take place at the Soweto festival Expo, including the Mama Winnie Mandela birthday celebrations.

Over the past 6 years, The Soweto Festival Expo has grown its reputation in entertainment, lifestyle and cool. This year the entertainment will be wild, the activities will be crazy and the

environment will be buzzing with excitement.

Get your dancing shoes on and get down to music from entertaining artists from all over South Africa. The entertainment lineup promises to be banging with six stages – The Boma, KidsZone, Hip Hop Zone, etv Craz-e, Shoprite Taste Sensation and the Amstel Beer Garden.

For the third year running, Jozi FM will be host to the Boma which will be created as the main stage of the Festival Expo. The Boma will host a variety of music ranging from Traditional Music and Dance, Gospel, Poetry, Story-telling and a whole lot more to keep with the tradition of Heritage Weekend. The impressive line-up includes well known artists from the 999 stable, Howza, Mzambiya, Ntombi, Steadyrock, Deborah Fraser and Ntando who will be entertaining visitors with their jamming and soulful music. This year, the Boma will be more versatile than before with traditional fashion shows, theatre pieces and Jozi FM DJs.

Willards, sponsor of the KidsZone and Hip Hop Stage, will cater to the 3 to 10 and 11 to 18 age groups. A safe area will be provided for parents to drop off their kids while they enjoy the exhibition and activities provided for parents. The kids will be kept occupied by jumping castles and face painters under the watchful eyes of dedicated and experienced staff. The older kids will be kept busy with the Willards Hip Hop Teen Stage, with a lineup of performers the teens will identify with. The Willards Hip Hop Stage will feature Graffiti artist, DJ Battles, Rap Battles, BeatBox Battles and Dance battles for the teens to participate in.

The Gauteng City Region Academy, GCRA, an independently run tertiary institution under the wing of the Gauteng Department of Education, is sponsor of the Youth Zone for the second year running. In partnership with the GCRA, the Festival organisers are providing tickets and meal vouchers to 4000 Grades 10-11 learners from Soweto and surrounding schools to encourage them to visit the Youth Zone. The Youth Zone, located in the UJ arena close to the venue entrance, will be Crazy with entertainment provided by etv’s popular Craz-e TV programme. Etv will host talent shows, quizzes and celebrity appearances and will transform the Arena into a replica of the programme TV set, produced by Red Pepper Studios. The Youth play a vital role in the Festival Expo and the whole Arena will be dedicated to entertain, motivate and provide career guidance to this aspiring younger generation.

The popular Amstel Beer Garden is again sponsored by Brandhouse. This year, the Amstel Beer Garden will host a Jazz Stokvel competition. Jazz Stokvels from all over Soweto will come together and battle on the Sunday of the Festival Expo. Well known and emerging artists and DJs will entertain visitors with Jazz as they chill and enjoy beverages and mouth watering food. Jazz musicians including Mesh Mapetla, Barney Rachabane, Ndumiso and Pu2Ma will serenade you with their soothing music throughout the Festival Expo.

Shoprite has once again taken a huge stand with their Shoprite Taste Sensation promotion. A full programme of food preparation and tastings, as well as wine tasting aimed at the Soweto consumer, will feature celebrity chefs Citrum Khumalo and Lerato Khanyago. The Shoprite Taste Sensation was hugely successful last year with thousands of people flocking there, keen to learn more about food and wine.

With only a quarter of Soweto residents’ spending power finding its way back to the community, the main purpose of the Soweto Festival Expo is to contribute to the long term development of the greater Soweto economy. W&RSETA is making this possible by sponsoring 200 SMMEs with exhibition stands, business cards and marketing support. Two compulsory business training sessions were conducted prior to the Festival Expo, the first the inspirational Allon Raiz, founder and CEO of Raizcorp. Allon used his Pitch and Polish routine to instill an awareness of what makes each and every one of our SMMEs special – so

they could hone their sales pitches in readiness for the Expo.

The Soweto Festival Expo is proud to announce that one of our dedicated and loyal SMMEs, Molobi Enterprises, won The 702 Small Business Award in September 2010. “The SMME programme is in place to inspire, motivate and build small businesses in Soweto and the greater Johannesburg area” said Toby Chance, ALP Managing Director.

The Soweto Festival Expo has undone a brand makeover by adding the word Expo to emphasise the growing focus on business development and the exhibition. The Soweto Festival Expo is more than just a music event; it celebrates a diversity of Arts, Culture, Enterprise and Heritage of all its people. With 300 exhibitors, the Soweto Festival

Expo will cover everything from cuisine, fashion, interior decoration, health and beauty, sports, business, arts and crafts and tourism. Well known brand names including Nestle, Converse, Ponds, Capitec, Kaiser Chiefs, Proudly SA, Jabu Stone, Tourism KZN and many will be exhibiting their goods and services alongside the SMMEs from Thursday 23rd to Sunday 26th September.

The Soweto Festival Expo will run from 23rd to 26th September at the University of Johannesburg, Soweto Campus.