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DURBAN’S EASTER 05 (article first published : 2005-03-14)

The busy team of city event organisers offers residents and visitors a fun-filled action-packed Easter Season in Durban with an extensive line-up of events and activities to cater for all tastes and inclinations over the March/April popular holiday break. The holidays promise to be abuzz with something for everyone – sports and leisure, heritage and spiritual, arts and culture are all represented.

Decorex KZN featuring Hirsch’s Kitchen and Bathroom Faire takes place from March 18 to 21 at the ICC. This year Decorex will display a fresh exhibitor mix and newly-landscaped pavilions plus exciting new projects showcasing designer trends and home innovations.

The eThekwini Easter Fashion Show at the BAT Centre on March 25 will showcase some of Durban’s top emerging designers and exciting new design talent featuring the winner of Durban Teen Contest, Suvanna Raj. There will be a fashion show (19h00 on March 25) followed by an exhibition of fashion from March 25 to 27 (10h00 to 18h00 daily) featuring among others, world renowned brands like Levi's, Sun Goddess and Cal-de-Sacci.

The Fashion Show is part of the Bat Imbizo Festival which will run from March 24 to 27 at the BAT Centre in the Small Craft Harbour off Durban's Victoria Embankment. The festival will be launched with a sculpture exhibition by various female KZN artists to be held in the Menzi Mcunu Gallery. The BAT Centre will host a number of events including drumming, poetry and maskanda on the deck. A concert by legendary diva Simophiwe Dana will take place on March 26. Sunday jazz will take place on the deck on March 27 and will signal the end of the Bat Imbizo Festival.

Time of the Writer – the International Writers Festival organised annually by the Centre for Creative Arts at UKZN - takes place at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre and other venues from April 4 to 9 featuring over 25 writers representing more than a dozen different countries. The festival features readings, presentations, panel discussions, literary awards, live music and book launches focusing on writing from the global diaspora and issues of multiple cultural identities and indigenous languages of South Africa.

Combining all elements of popular culture is the exciting Red Eye which takes place on April 1 (no joke!) with the theme of "Rouge" at the Durban Art Gallery in Durban's City Hall. In accordance with the theme, the event has moved back from the city streets into the more intimate spaces of the gallery and promises to be a truly glamorous affair. The spaces at the top of the red carpeted staircase will play host to a mixture of genres - think Hollywood, Bollywood, Moulin Rouge and more with the emphasis on over-the-top decadence, glitz, glam and scandal. This intoxicating mixture will form the basis of inspiration for the dance, fashion, performance and visual aspects of the event.

The Great Moscow Circus comes to town from March 18 to 28 traveling with its own enormous air-conditioned big top which will be situated alongside the Suncoast Casino. The Great Moscow Circus is known and recognised as one of the world’s greatest entertainment attractions featuring a host of international circus acts. Their line up includes Russian acrobats; legendary Moscow clowns; jugglers; the wheel of death; graceful gymnasts; daredevil stunts and of course the performing dogs and tigers - gleaned from around the world.

The hive of activities planned for the Ratha-yatra (Festival of Chariots) on Durban Beachfront over Easter weekend (March 25 to 28 ) is set to surpass all expectations. This age-old festival which originates from the ancient city of Jagannath Puri in India is now boasting its 17th year on Durban’s North Beach. Over the years the festival has expanded in number and size. Over 200,000 locals and tourists are expected to converge at the festival grounds which span across from the former Military Museum Site to the Bay of Plenty lawns. A 2,500-seater marquee and an open air stage at the Bay of Plenty will showcase the finest local talent. The chariot parades, featuring a 15metre high flower bedecked chariot manually drawn by thousands of chanting and dancing devotees will take place on March 26. An evening parade where the chariot is lit up with nets of fairy lights will kick off from the festival grounds on March 28. Admission to the festival is free and every visitor to the festival will be treated to free vegetarian meals in true Hare Krishna style! Despite the fun-element attached to the festival, it has deep spiritual significance and the festival aims to create a resurgence in spiritual thought and practice, enhancing the moral and spiritual fabric of society.

The final event on the Easter cultural calendar is the symbolic Salt March which takes place on April 10. (see separate article)

There are music concerts daily on the Umhlanga Main Beach, as well as family activities, fashion shows, daily lunch hour concerts and children’s educational activities courtesy of the Busyballers. The Miss Pick n Pay pageant adds a touch of glamour to the event.

"We have focused our events on action and fun this Easter season,” says Sharon Peetz, Acting Chief Executive Officer for Durban Africa, “It’s holiday time and we expect our citizens and visitors to enjoy lots of participative action, laughter and fun and, of course, to live it up in South Africa’s playground.”

For more information about these events, contact Durban Africa on 031 304 4934.




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