Not all ‘blown away’ by macadamia festival
Strong winds, lack of kids’ fun and nuts a drawback
The usually quiet Ncera village, adjacent to a commercial macadamia nut farm, was abuzz at the weekend as hundreds of visitors descended on the village for the farm’s annual music festival.
Old and young festinos from around East London made their way to Ncera for the second Macadamia Harvest Festival on Saturday and Sunday.
The festival’s fare also included traditional arts, crafts and food stalls, performances from cultural dance groups and praise poet Sandiso Dyantyi, as well as helicopter rides and trips through the plantation to see the trees in flower just as fruiting begins.
There wee no macadamia nuts for sale at the event as, according to Ncera Macadamia Farm chair Joe Jongolo, the trees are only due to be harvested early in 2019.
Inside the VIP marquee, attendees were treated to an African-themed fashion show and lineup of local DJs, including award-winning Mobi Dixon, who had spent the better part of Saturday celebrating his nuptials.
Strong winds halted the helicopter rides above the plantation much sooner than festival goers would have liked, and while the tour guides called it a day despite there being scores of people still hoping to get a detailed explanation of the nut farm, thanks to willing tour drivers the drive-throughs continued.
The experience proved to be underwhelming for some East Londoners who said they wished more had gone into planning the festival activities.
Festival organisers had promised fun things for children, but the only form of entertainment was a barrel train ride led by a quad bike around the farm.
Angie Simani from Mdantsane said the plantation drive was the highlight of her festival experience.
“Seeing first hand how big the farm is excited me because it means so many families in the community are benefiting from the nut project. The festival is rather interesting. I just wish there were more activities for children to enjoy.”
Simani’s sentiments were shared by Jessica Mlandu, from Nahoon, who said: “It was a nice vibe but nothing about it indicated that it was a nut festival. I didn’t see a single nut, let alone taste one. I also went there with three kids thinking they were going to have a great time in the promised kiddies area, only to find deflated jumping castles.”
Jongolo said although the festival was another success for them, there was still “lots of room to grow”.
“We have noticed there’s room for improvement, but we believe we’ve done better than in 2017. We created a lot of awareness which contributed to the festival’s success.”
He said the weather played a huge role in limiting the activities that should have been rendered at the festival.
“The kiddies inflatables and the helicopter rides could not operate well because of the strong winds.”
Jongolo said the festival would bring in more crafters with the hope of attracting more buyers to support local creatives...