Speech delivered by Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi on the occasion of the cocktail function of Marula Festival, Hat and Creek Lodge, Phalaborwa Gate

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27 Feb 2015

Programme director

MEC for Economic Development, Environment and Tourism, Mr Seaparo Sekwati;

MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture, Ms Nandi Ndalane;

Mayors present;

Councillors;

Traditional Leaders;

Representative of Limpopo Tourism Board;

Distinguished guests;

Members of the media;

Ladies and gentlemen

Thobela! Riperile! Ndi madekwana!

In his State of the Nation Address, the President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency Jacob Zuma, stated that “From this year, schools must also practice the African Union anthem, in preparation for the celebration of Africa Month in May, as we implement the African Union decision in this regard”.

From the month of May onwards every government building must hoist African Union Flag alongside our national flag.

The Marula product is truly an indigenous heritage product of Africa hence we gather here tonight at this august occasion of the Marula Festival to celebrate its contribution to tourism and job creation in the Limpopo province.

Marula Festival is a project funded by the Department of Arts and Culture through the Mzantsi Golden Economy (MGE). This strategic investment approach seeks to reposition the arts, culture and heritage sector as the key players in government’s programme of action towards creation of sustainable jobs, audience and skills development, social and economic development of the sector.

The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) invites organizations, companies, and individuals to apply for the 2015-2016 Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE) open call for funding aimed at optimising the economic benefits of the arts in South Africa.

Applications are open to the following work-streams: Cultural Events Programme; Touring Ventures Programme and Public Art Programme.

The Department of Arts and Culture supports 22 national and regional festivals including the Diamonds and Dorings Festival in Kimberley, the MACUFE Festival in Bloemfontein, Moretele Jazz Festival in Mamelodi, Mapungubwe Festival in Polokwane, the Calabash Festival in Mahikeng and Marula Festival in Phalaborwa, that create significant platforms to promote local talent.

Festivals like Marula are an essential element to Limpopo’s economic growth. However, I have to indicate that whilst we industrialize the product it is imperative for us as the custodian of heritage to also promote the traditional ways of making vukanyi (the marula beer) as for many centuries it has been a common factor for communal gatherings thereby playing a role in nation building and social cohesion.

In observing the rituals prior to an event in the olden days, local women would collect, brew and deliver the Marula drink to the chief’s residence all dressed in their traditional attires singing traditional songs and chanting in celebration of the First Fruit of harvest.

It is for this reason that we appreciate the current engagement amongst the relevant stakeholders to have a single concept around the Marula Festival programme that includes Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Kwazulu-Natal Provinces.

There is another Marula Festival (known as Umthayi) in Kwazulu Natal province that is also closely linked to the Limpopo one since they both share a common idea of the Marula product/bi-product that are the harvesting and brewing.

In this case, we shall draw comparisons and uniqueness of each product. Something to take note of is that both festivals happen almost in the same time that is linked to the same season of harvesting the Marula fruits.

The Department of Arts and Culture has a major interest in the development and promotion of the creative industry as a whole. The performances in the Festival form a core element and a crowd puller to the festivities of the Festival.

The line-up which comprises of different music genres from Kwaito, Hip Hop, House, Gospel, Traditional Music, R&B and Jazz allows the patrons of different nations to flock down to the town of Ba-Phalaborwa to come and celebrate whilst enjoying locally brewed Marula drink.

Let this festival continue to increase the economic beneficiation to the local residents of Ba-Phalaborwa Municipality in many more years to come as it is indeed part of the tourism basket of the Mopani district.

In conclusion, let us take pride in promoting our cultural identity. 

Ndo livhuwa