This was confirmed by the organisers Adele Lucas Promotions, following no signs of interest from the local government.
According to information at our disposal, the festival has been allegedly being hijacked by what is called Soweto Business Expo which coincidentally, would take place the same weekend the Soweto Fest was supposed to have taken.
“The Soweto Business Expo at the University of Johannesburg Soweto campus is misrepresenting itself as the Soweto Festival Expo, causing great confusion for exhibitors and sponsors,” commented Toby Chance, Managing Director of Adele Lucas Promotions.
According to press release, the Soweto Festival Expo is a reincarnation of the iconic Soweto Homemakers Festival which Adele Lucas Promotions created and organised in partnership with the Soweto Chamber of Commerce from 1983 to 1985.
In 2005, at the urging of the City of Johannesburg, the event was reborn as the Soweto Festival with Absa as the title sponsor. Since then, it has been staged annually over the Heritage Day weekend supported by a variety of sponsors and has grown into one of Gauteng’s largest annual events.
This is a real tragedy,” says the irate Chance.
“Though we have the support of the private sector, the Soweto community, our media partners and most especially the hundreds of small entrepreneurs from all over Gauteng who rely every year on the Soweto Festival Expo to assist them in expanding their businesses, government have, in the main, not come to the party.
We have spent the past ten months lobbying government departments, parastatal bodies and agencies at local, provincial and national level but have come back empty handed. It’s shameful that while much is said about the need to support small businesses, youth and entrepreneurship, when it comes to supporting a proven event, actions fall short.”
However, Chance is not deterred and instead has promised they’re doing all they can to secure funding and host the fest either this year or next year.
Adele Promotions has been hosting the Soweto Festival Expo for the past 7-year’s.
Attempts to obtain comment from the MEC for Economic Development in Gauteng Nkosiphendule Kolisile, office did not materialise.