'Carnival festival can earn SA billions'

Patience Bambalele

Patience Bambalele

In a bid to develop a carnival culture in Africa, Johannesburg has taken the initiative and is hosting a three-day World Carnival Conference (WCC).

The second world conference, which is taking place at Ellis Park Stadium, ends today.

The conference started on Monday and has attracted guests from the Caribbean, Canada and the UK.

All invited speakers stressed the need for Africa to take carnival culture seriously.

WCC president Henry Antoine said the carnival could bring billions to the country if the right structures were put in place.

"A carnival is a business, so it should be treated like one," Antoine said. "I have no doubt that South Africa has the right ingredients to make it work."

Antoine said carnivals play a huge role in shaping a nation.

"A carnival is a healer and a celebration. It is not only about glamour but African cultural heritage."

WCC director of communications Gemma Raeburn said the idea of a carnival would never work if the marketing strategy were poor.

"Firstly, you need to be sure that the community has a clear and concise understanding of the carnival. But you need to be able to market your carnival so that it attracts tourists."