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The annual Buyel’Ekhaya festival a treat for culture lovers

Caleb Tayi

Festival was once again a thrill for the East London crowds on 16 December at Buffalo Park Cricket Stadium. This year’s programme of workshops, fashion and the music festival was a treat for culture lovers celebrating the festive season.

Buyel’Ekhaya was established in 2009 in East London with a simple vision: To turn the Eastern Cape into the Cultural Mecca of South Africa. Since inception, the festival has grown in leaps and bounds having attracted a mere 4 000 patrons in 2009 the festival has grown to 22 000 capacity crowd, year in and year out. This is testament to the loyalty of the people of the Eastern Cape to the brand, as they are the ultimate owners and custodians of the Buyel’Ekhaya brand, having supported it and grown with it for the last 10 years.

The crown of the Eastern Cape’s festivals, The 10th Annual Buyel’Ekhaya Pan African Festival was the success it promised. It continued to celebrate all that is African, contributing to the maintenance of cultural heritage and diversity. This was delivered through a vast programme of activities from the Fashion Development Programme and Artist Development Programme to the culmination point which is the Festival on 16 December 2018.

This year’s superb lineup features legends as well as the hottest hit makers across a variety of genres, made Buyel’Ekhaya an unmissable event for everyone in the city and from across the region: Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Jonas Gwangwa, Zahara, Peddie born Dumza Maswana, Busiswa, Shekhinah, Sun-El Musician, Moonchild Sanelly, Sjava, Prince Kaybee and Mobi Dixon who were all on the lineup.

Since inception, the festival has hosted a mixture of emerging and established artists from the Eastern Cape, South Africa and the rest of Africa, in keeping with the spirit of inclusiveness and Pan-African ideals. It was no different this year. A music workshop hosted by Buyel’Ekhaya yielded a crop of newcomers that graced the festival too on 16 December.

Nomahlubi Mazwai who conceived of and produced The Buyel’Ekhaya Festival says: “In 2016, we expanded a two-day programme, closing in on our vision to give full expression to the tenets of culture that form a central part of the African lifestyle, through song, dance and fashion. And this year this is what patrons expected.”

Mazwai continues: “There was a fashion workshop on 12 December at Hemingways Mall for Rising designers, who took part in last year’s fashion workshop, showcased alongside big names at Hemingways Mall on Friday, 14 December when Gert-Johan Coetzee, Sonwabile Ndamase, Zimbabwe’s Chimanye Nyasha (known as Zuvva) and Linda Sithole show off their creations.”

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