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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

SPRINGCAMPAIGN (article first published : 2002-10-11)

Durban Africa celebrates Spring with a diverse selection of cultural and leisure activities aimed at further enhancing the City's image as the playground of the new South Africa. Activities will take place in and around Durban venues from the beginning of September through to early November prior to the launch of the Summer season.

The festival has included cultural activities such as the Centre for Creative Arts' Durban International Film Festival, the Sugar and Spice Festival in the Northern Precinct of Durban, Pulse of Durban show at Gateway Theatre of Shopping, the religious Shembe Dance Festival and the launch of the inaugural Ster-Kinekor Bollywood Film Festival at Gateway which will run until October 10 before proceeding to Cape Town and Johannesburg. Other activities have included Celebrate Durban Week, the insightful Chicago Photographic Exhibition, an Isicathamiya Festival, the KZN Craft Fair 2002, Storytelling at the Botanic Gardens, Song and Dance and the 2002 Standard Bank Awesome Africa Music Festival which also hosted the OCRE Encounters African Cultural Conference.

The Festival of Diwali is the highlight of the Hindu religious calendar which symbolizes the return of the most prominent Indian deity, Lord Rama from exile. This year the FNB Durban Diwali Festival takes place on October 26 and 27 at the Bay of Plenty, North Beach.

Indian history recounts how thousands of worshippers lit lamps to celebrate his return - hence the reference to Diwali as the Festival of Lights. The festival represents many things - the triumph of good over evil, a time of peace, goodwill and thanksgiving. This promises to be a truly multicultural event sharing the Hindu culture with all South Africans and visitors.

There will be a float, carnival, performances, entertainment, song and dance, craft markets, a Bhangra Bash and fireworks display in the evening.

The 12th Miss India World-wide Pageant which takes place from October 31 with finals on November 2 sees finalists from over 30 countries convening in South Africa to compete for the coveted World Crown. The judging will take place on the first evening with the coronation on the following night.

In celebration of Diwali, Mitchell Park presents The Festival of Lights from November 1 - 3. The festival, which will be highly cultural and traditional depicts the true message of Diwali - peace, harmony, love and prosperity, reflecting the celebration of light overcoming darkness. Mitchell Park will be turned into a bright wonderland of lights as international and local artists perform cultural music, drama and songs. A play depicting the origin of Diwali will be performed each evening alongside other entertainment.

"Once again Durban Africa takes pleasure in presenting a fun, and lively range of cultural and leisure activities to our valued City residents and visitors." says Durban Africa's CEO, Paulos Ngcobo, "The sheer diversity of the events planned demonstrate how Durban has earned it's reputation for being a rich cultural melting pot. From the unique KwaZulu Natal traditions of acapella singing of isicathamiya to legendary sounds of Masekela's trumpet; from the reverence of Diwali to the pulse the Shembe celebrations - we are very blessed to be able to present such a wide variety of events this Spring."




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