Business people, particularly the SMMEs in Bloemfontein are probably smiling from ear to mouth following the successful annual Mangaung Cultural Festival (Macufe).
The 2016 festival once again attracted thousands of merrymakers from various parts of the country and beyond our borders.
The show is a 10-day event that climaxes in music, dance, speeches and good football in the last four days.
Thousands of people descended on the City of Roses to experience one of the biggest cultural events in Southern Africa. Businesses ranging from hotels to street vendors were booming during the festival.
Music events featured jazz, gospel, kwaito, hip-hop, R&B, rock and classical music, as well as dance, drama, cabaret, musical theatre, poetry, fine art and traditional arts and crafts.
First held in 1997 before an audience of 30 000, Macufe now attracts more than 140 000 people from South Africa, Africa and the world.
However, as always the concern for festival organisers over the years is accommodation.
But as Ntebo Lesetla-Peri from Jezreel Group, the founder of popular leisure train Loliwe, put it they hope to this mode of locomotive will ease the issue of accommodation and traffic during the Macufe period.
Although this year the train was not used-owing to politics and new management at Prasa- Ntebo strongly believes rail transport should be encouraged for, and by the public.
“As a form of rail tourism, of which we’re beginning to see the public becoming accustomed to, to us this a sign that using this mode helps in many dynamics such as convenience traveling; accommodation, safety, avoid traffic congestion and a family outing,” she told SLM.
“Yes, whenever the Macufe ‘madness’ season approaches, accommodation becomes a problem and as Loliwe, we act as catalyst to handle that.
“We know thousands of rands are spent on accommodation and our message to those who prefer not driving to use Loliwe and enjoy the ride. Ask those who have experienced it they will vouch for it, “said the gorgeous Mom of three.
Echoing the same sentiments, the newly installed executive Mayor of Mangang Mme Olly Mlamleli, who was eagerly excited about the project, conceded she will support the Loliwe because it also creates job opportunities for the young-ones in the Free State province.
“Were there are job and business opportunities count me in, because that’s one of the mandates and policies of the ruling party, “she said during interview with SLM, prior to the Kaizer Chiefs and Bloem Celtic Sparta Macufe clash at the packed FS stadium.
Put to her, this is her first assignment since being installed as Mayor and how much is likely to be added in the kitty the City, the bubbly Mlamleli said close to millions albeit we have to quantify that.
I don’t wanna be misquoted by you guys (media). But as soon we do, we shall be in position to reveal the exact stats and figures.”
As for my first experience it is indeed, and I look forward to another year’s hosting Macufe, of which I’m made to understand draws large market abroad. We have to continue capitalizing on that.
This means great economical spin-offs for our masses and projects such as Loliwe will be our partner going forward,” says the bespectacled Mayor, avoiding the question which team does she support.
The festival was a huge success having featured the likes of Karyn White, Stimela, Andy Narell, Zonke; Nathi; Lira; Jimmy Dludlu; Presss; Tsepo Tshola; Vusi Nova; DJ Finzo; What What & Ruby Red, among others, as they brought the Loch Logan Garden and its ‘Roses’ to an abrupt standstill. Finish & klaar!
In conclusion the Mayor reiterated “we’re already planning for the 20th edition and expect bucket load of surprises” she pointed out without revealing much; as she sang and danced along members of the press.
NB. Loliwe also travels to the coast for the annual Durban July, Cape Town and other high profiled events in the country!