48000 give the nod to inspiring Soweto Festival

Tebogo Monama

Tebogo Monama

The fourth Soweto Festival has fulfilled its promise of being bigger, better and hotter than ever.

The five-day festival held over the Heritage Day weekend started on a high note and pumped along solidly, with 48000 people attending.

The strong "edutainment" focus of this year's festival - in the form of the specially dedicated "Youth Zone" which included a host of activities, exhibitions and career-job advice - certainly paid off and many young people left the festival informed, fired up and ready to reach for their dreams.

"The Standard Bank Youth Zone aims to provide young visitors with inspiration, information and motivation for their future careers.

"We have made it our mission to play a part in helping youth when it comes to thinking about their future and contributing to youth development initiatives," said head of leadership development at Std Bank, Zee-CarolineWalters.

This year's Youth Zone talent show attracted gospel singers, rap artists, stand-up comics and a huge audience of several hundred cheering supporters.

The Shoprite Taste Sensation Chef's Arena proved hugely popular with tantalising, traditional African fare whipped up and served with panache. They also won the trophy for best large stand.

The City of Johannesburg was the platinum sponsor for the festival.

Says Thuli Kumalo, director SMME development and support: "The city achieved its main objectives of facilitating market access to both local consumers and SMMEs, creation of economic opportunity and promoting social inclusion."

The launch of the Joburg Jobs City initiative exceeded expectations and hundreds of job seekers received screening interviews at the festival and an opportunity to log onto the city's database.

"This year the Soweto Festival had several focal points rather than just the exhibition and main entertainment stage which have tended to dominate the festival in previous years," said Adele Lucas, the festival director.