COMPETITION | Afrika Unite fest to launch in East London
In an effort to celebrate Africa’s unity and diversity through arts and culture, organiser and arts activist Luzuko Khohli is hosting the launch of the Afrika Unite International Cultural Festival in East London.
The two-day musical event will take place at the Guild Theatre from Friday.
Khohli, who is also on the committee of the Cultural and Creative Industries Federation of SA (CCIFSA), said the event would be the “starter” for the main event planned for May 2020.
This weekend's lineup includes afro-soul and afro-pop artists Nathi Mankayi, Dumza Maswana and Afrotraction, as well as gospel greats Veliswa Skeyi, Phumla Mfene and Khanyisa Sabuka.
Khohli said the vision of the festival was an all-inclusive creative arts platform that would include artists from Southern African countries, such as Zimbabwe and Botswana.
“In East London this weekend, music lovers will experience proudly South African entertainment from the best artists in the industry,” Khohli said.
“As we all know, September was a very tough month for the country. It was clouded with xenophobic attacks and the abuse of women.
“We took a conscious decision to lead the performance line-up with male artists with the purpose of using the platform to influence men to take a stand and fight against gender-based violence.
“This launch is the beginning of bigger things to come.”
SA afro-soul sensation Nathi Mankayi, one of the headlining acts, said such events played a crucial part in uplifting up-and-coming artists.
“I will be performing with young musicians who have been groomed by the department of sport, recreation, arts and culture. The Afrika Unite Cultural Festival is the type of platform that validates the dreams of young musicians who perform alongside established musicians.
It is a rare occasion where we can celebrate our African heritage and uplift rising stars at the same time. Fans will be happy to know that I will also perform with my sister Amanda Mankayi, who will show the audience what she has to offer,” said Mankayi.
The hitmaker who shot to fame after the single release Nomvula on his triple-platinum debut album, Buyelekhaya, said fans could expect to be serenaded with songs from his first album, as well as his most recent album, Iphupha Labantu.
“People always ask me to perform songs from my very first album. I think they relate to that music a lot.
“I am very excited to be on home ground to perform in a proudly African event,” said the Maclear-born musician.
Khohli, who is planning the event under C-Tone productions, said the 2020 inaugural festival would be a flagship event that would attract African artists and athletes to the Eastern Cape
“We are engaging with the department of sport, recreation, arts and culture for their support in the main festival in 2020. The main festival will include sporting, leisure and performing arts programmes.
“We want to make sure, that as the Home of Legends, we elevate legends in all sporting codes. We will host a soccer tournament that will include past provincial PSL players.
“Because East London is known as the home of boxing, we are working with the Sanabo Boxing Organisation to bring amateur boxers from the Southern African region.
“The main festival will also have a dialogue from different creative businesses who will discuss the various issues faced in the performance industry,” said Khohli.
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