Festival of Lights called off at Joburg Zoo due to new lockdown regulations

Tebogo Masemola with one of the animals that would have been on display at the Festival of Lights at Joburg Zoo.
Tebogo Masemola with one of the animals that would have been on display at the Festival of Lights at Joburg Zoo.
Image: Alon Skuy/Sunday Times

The Festival of Lights event that was due to start at the Johannesburg Zoo on Tuesday has been put on ice after SA’s move to level 3 of the lockdown regulations.

Festival organisers said the decision to pull the plug on the event was taken jointly by stakeholders including Joburg City Parks and Zoo, Metro Bus Services and City Power.

The festival, now in its second year, boasts an enchanting collection of illuminated life-sized animal characters, music, dance, Christmas carols, opera, food stalls, childrens' play areas and night markets. It was supposed to run until January 3.

The event organisers said tickets had already been sold out for all days of the event which was initially scheduled to go ahead with Covid-19 protocols in place.

Joburg City Theatres CEO Xoliswa Nduneni Ngema said it was in the best interests of all to halt the event. 

“Out of patriotic duty to prioritise the safety and health of our staff members, performers and patrons, I urge us all to cooperate and follow the president's instructions so we can overcome this unprecedented pandemic. We are looking forward to a healthy 2021 as we have opened bookings for upcoming productions.”

The organisers offered patrons online entertainment instead.

“Joburg Theatre will spread joy and cheer by streaming the previous pantomime of Sleeping Beauty (2015) until December 31 2020. The show will be streamed from 7pm to 9pm on the Joburg Theatre Facebook page courtesy of M-Net and the participating artists and creative teams. Click on this link for direct access,” the organisers said.

Those seeking refunds can call 0861 670 670 or do so via the Webtickets self-service portal.

The Joburg Theatre urged patrons to consider donating their tickets by not requesting a refund. 

"Your support will help the theatre to weather this storm and contribute to ensuring that when these critical times start to ease, Joburg City Theatres will be in a position to continue serving the community by bringing world-class performance art to South African stages and by providing employment for our affected actors and stage professionals of the future," it said. 


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