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

CELEBRATE DURBAN (article first published : 2004-09-24)

All roads lead to Albert Park this weekend with the culmination of the Celebrate Durban festivities taking place in and around Albert Park on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (September 24 to 26). One of the colourful, participative events on the Celebrate Durban calendar this year is a float parade through town on Saturday morning (September 25). The parade intends to echo similar events internationally – UK’s Notting Hill Carnival and the flamboyant Rio Carnival. Both events generate great tourism interest and civic pride.

Durban’s Float Parade will process through the CBD on Saturday. It leaves Albert Park, St Andrew Street at 09h00, going left into Russell Street, right into West Street, right into Aliwal Street; right into Smith Street; left into Broad Street; right into St Georges Street; left into Park Street; and then will position in themed nodes within the Awesome Africa Music Festival inside Albert Park.

Over and above the floats will be street-side entertainment featuring jazz bands and dancers. There will be 12 floats participating in the parade.

Also gracing Albert Park will be the fascinating cows from the CowParade whose visit to Durban is hosted by Durban Africa: the Cell C and Kulula Cows will be part of the float parade and will be spending next weekend in Albert Park as part of the festivities there. The herd of cows are currently touring venues around Durban – there are some cows enjoying their spring holiday on the beachfront between Joe Kools and The Deck; some admiring the marine life at uShaka; a few are getting in a spot of shopping at the Pavilion and some are grazing in the beautiful Botanical Gardens.

The conclusion of the Celebrate Durban season takes place in Durban’s Albert Park this weekend which is the site of a myriad of activities. The Standard Bank Celebrate Durban takes place in the actual park on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For the second year South Africa’s primary Pan-African Festival will be held in the beautiful green surroundings of Albert Park. The Festival also forms the anchor for the cultural component of the exciting Celebrate Durban Week and is supported by Standard Bank, the city of Durban and Tourism KZN.

This year’s festival focuses on leading artists from countries who supported South Africa’s struggle for freedom and include Tanzania, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Chad, Kenya, Namibia, Mozambique, Angola, DRC, Singapore, France, Uganda, Reunion, Italy, Brazil, India and the United States. In addition, a massive contingent of local artists includes a selection of well-established favourites and rising young forces on the music scene!

Among the special themes and highlights at the festival are: Drums of Freedom which includes Rhythm Masala from Singapore who will be joined by local drum circles in their attempt to break the Guinness World Record for continuous drumming of 50 hours non-stop; the legendary Brazilian percussionist Nana Vasconcelos, together with Kituxi, Manuel Esconcio and Victor Gama from Angola who will explore the ancient bow instrument in a collaboration to reveal the depth of this subtle musical. For the festival, tickets and information are available at Computicket.

Also in Albert Park is the Cell C St Andrew Street Music Festival on September 24 and25 from 11h00 to 16h00 featuring the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, the KwaZulu-Natal Youth Wind Band; Dixieland Jazz band: Jimmy and the Krickets; the SANDF Band, the Field Band Foundation and various choirs.

Albert Park will also host Flavours of Durban 2004 hosted by the eThekwini Municipality, the Economic Development Department, the Greater Durban Community Foundation and eThekwini Health. This fair will display a multi-cultural Durban, through food, music, street trading, street shows and theatres at the Albert Park.

Highlights of the Flavours of Durban programme include a food safety and security programme developed in partnership with city health, a comprehensive programme of activities and information sharing on healthy eating and living; free recipe books for the recommended healthy food with nutritional facts for the whole family. These recipes are for low cost budgets and tasty treats; a nutritionalist and a dietician to advise people on healthy eating, drawing one’s personal eating plan, free of charge; non-stop cooking demonstrations from 10 cooks from different institutions, with free tasting of those dishes; a display of 60 stalls of Durban’s loved dishes – with Asian and African cuisine – there will be over 3 000 food samples for food tasting.

This event is aimed at empowering and developing the local people and to promote their SMME production and talents. The activities in Albert Park as an example of eThekwini Municipality’s commitment to the Urban Regeneration Management Programme (iTRUMP).

The city has once again put together a diverse, engaging and participative programme for September to which city residents and visitors are warmly invited to share. The City Manager sees this as an excellent opportunity for Durban to show the rest of the world that it has what it takes to become the most exciting city in South Africa. Mayor Obed Mlaba echoed his sentiments by adding that; “September in Durban will become the only place to holiday in once Celebrate Durban makes its mark.”




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