Kruger Park turns 110 in style

ON SONG: Dancers entertain guests at the Kruger National Park's birthday celebrations.
ON SONG: Dancers entertain guests at the Kruger National Park's birthday celebrations.

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

Kruger National Park celebrated its 110th birthday on Saturday with celebrities, the media, politicians and community members rubbing shoulders.

The function, held at the Skukuza sports field near the park's Skukuza rest camp, saw a number of musicians, including widely publicised DJ Sdunkero and famous Shangaan disco musician General Muzka, entertaining the guests.

When Muzka took to the stage he sang one of his new songs, Xenophobia i vuvabyi (xenophobia is a sickness), in which he encourages South Africans to stand together against the "sickness".

Muzka, who has released more than 15 albums since the early 1990s when he was with the now defunct Thulamahashe Soul Lovers band, later told Sowetan that he had decided to stop recording.

"It was only after this sickness called xenophobia reared its ugly head that I changed my mind and decided to record this song," Muzka said.

The occasion was also spiced up by traditional dancers from various cultures and backgrounds in the province.

Park director Bandile Mkhize told guests that the communities living near the park were faced with a variety of challenges related to their socio-economic situation.

"We need to look back and recall the idea behind the establishment of this park, and we will then find a way forward that will become a solution for the people living around the park," Mkhize said.

But Dankie Ngaleni, a community member who also attended the occasion and who lives in Justicia just outside the park, said Mkhize's statement would only be welcomed if it were translated into action.

"A statement without action will be useless," Ngaleni said. "I have been living in this village for years but I still have to benefit from the park.

"I have had no benefit from this park though we are only divided by a fence."