Mahika Mahikeng fest promises ‘new lease of life’

NOT everyone will climb on that stage’

That’s the honest view of the department of Arts and Culture, on the much awaited 2023 Mahika Mahikeng Cultural music festival in December.

Entering its sixth iteration, this year’s festival- previously marred by controversies, non-payment of artists, corruption and maladministration, promises a new lease of life.

At the media launch in Jozi on Thursday, buoyant spokespersonShuping Sebolecwe, indicated they’ve learnt their lesson. ‘The hard way’.

“As the department we’ve taken a hard stance and reviewed ourselves on matters mentioned above. This means going forward all systems will be vetted to avoid such unfortunate incidents,” he exclusively told this reporter.

On the issue of consultation with disgruntled artists, Sebolecwe said the department and the MEC Kenetswe Mosenogi, went on a provincial outreach programme to meet emerging and established artists in all districts of the province, to engage, interact and chart way forward on the festival and beyond.

“This afforded us a chance to understand their frustrations, short-comings and also told them not everyone will climb on that stage. We made them aware this is an evolving process and going forward, every year we shall absorb others,” indicating 50% of what was discussed, a mutual agreement was reached, he said.

In March the first phase of the fest was successfully held.

The week-long Mahika-Mahikeng kicks off December 7 to 10 in Mmabatho.

It features Comedy, Gospel, Amapiano and the main festival on the 10th at Mmabatho Stadium.

The ‘youth fest’ on the 8th features SA’s best namely Scorpion Kings, Felo Le Tee, Tira, De Mthuda, Dbn Gogo, Murumba Pitch, Big Zulu, Young Stunna, Fifi Cooper, Mokgankgara, Thasman, DJ Lemonka, Lection, Focalistic, Okmalumkoolkat, Dlala Tukzin, Kwesta and Nasty C, Tuks Senganga, amongst others.

On the 10th international star act Karyn White, leads the pack sharing the stage with mzansi exponents Judith Sephuma, Mdu Masilela, Thebe (gave a performance), Vusi Nova, Tshedi Mholo, Blaq Diamond, Sereetsi & The Natives, Thabo Pelesane, Jaziel Brothers, MmaAusi, Ma O & Friends, Benny Mayengani, and others.

The weeklong fest stand to contribute close to R70 million into the GDP of the province.

Provincial department of arts and culture budgeted around R14m, and national department and other stakeholders also contributed to make it R20million figure for the entire fest.

“This is justifiable if you consider the ROIs for the province. It should be noted these funds would be channelled to arts and culture projects, such as Mmabana Center and others,” promised the spokesperson, who further indicated tourism is going to be the key driver of the economy, considering neighbours Botswana, NC, Gauteng and Bloemfontein are all gearing-up to have a jol.

Already some of the hotels and B&Bs are already booked as a result of festive period, and Sebolecwe, has made a passionate plea to the locals to open up their homes/properties for rentals during the fest, ‘it’s a good money for them’.

Mpho Motshegoa from North West Tourism Board, said he was elated on the hosting of the fest as it resonates well with the masses, in and outside the province.

Image (Age defier. Karyn White will serenade her fans at the Mahika-Mahikeng fest on December 10 in Mmabatho).

On poor infrastructure that is an eye-sore, Sebolecwe promised in partnership with the local Infrastructure Department and the municipality, they’re hard at work to deal with roads (potholes), water and electricity.

The last thing we need is being sued for damages to the cars, he pointed out, strongly.

Following allegations of an event company being appointed irregularly in the past, the spokesperson said Showtime Entertainment from Klerksdorp, procured to produce the fest, its three-year contract ends in 2024.

“Look, with such big events, there will always be some issues; but we’re hands-on to deal with them as much as possible,” says the spin-doctor.

Tickets for the Amapiano range from R100, R250 to R350.

Tickets for main festival begin from R200, R250 to R350.

All available at Computicket and TicketPro outlets.

Full programme is available at #MahikaMahikeng, #AreyengBokoneBophirima

In my home language we say ‘moeng goroga re je‘.

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