The city of Durban in South Africa is the only city in Africa that hosts the Essence Festival – which is very popular in the USA where it has been happening about 20 years. Under the theme ‘Firing Africa with Inspiration’, with the tagline ‘Passion, inspiration and power’, the second edition of Africa’s Essence festival was celebrated in Durban last weekend at the famous International Conference Centre (ICC). The festival drew multitudes from all walks of life where women empowerment, music, beauty, style and fashion, business, food and culture were dominant themes. There were many business conferences hosted by notable speakers, exhibitions, property expos, tech zones and an empowerment stage platform each day for young people on youth development, money and power, art talks, beauty and style talks and lifestyle and wellness. South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma made a surprise visit to the event on the last day where he talked about passion and the need for young people to persevere in everything they do. Acting Deputy City Manager for Durban Phillip Sithole said they are happy with how the event has grown. He said they included new things in the festival this year, including the carnival. He said they intend to grow the event each year.
Some of the events that took place was the Women Economic Empowerment event where women were challenged to overcome barriers to success. Speakers included Durban ICC CEO Lindiwe Rakharebe, Durban Mayor Zandile Gumede and former AU Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who all gave insights about being women and doing business. “There is so much need for women in the business industry and women should use platforms like these for trade exchange, especially that it brings all together and that can help them grow their businesses and alliances,” Dlamini-Zuma said. Durban Tourism treated media contingent to exciting experiences, from the Kasi restaurants to the style hub Eyadini. The all-star music festival featured SA artists in Micasa, Nasty C, Khuzani and Babes Wodumo performing alongside the American Jill Scott. And with it being a Zulu city, there is no how someone can go back without experiencing the rich culture of the Zulu in dance and attire which always have young girls in skimpy outfits and baring their breasts. The incredible festival was sealed by the night with popular American Pastor Bishop TD Jakes and South Africa’s biggest choir in Joyous Celebration who all had the revelers dancing the whole night and begging for more.
Some of the people that also talked at the Essence stage were Ambassador Andrew Young, Reverend Al Sharpton, Johanna Mukoki, Fred Khumalo and Chef Sherwyn Weaich. There was no how someone can get out from the festival without being reignited. Melusi Khumalo from Durban Tourism said their main aim was to ensure that their guests leave transformed so that they can come back again. “We are all making sure that we leave a long lasting mark in the international people who come into this city and make them experience the warmth of Durban which is like no other place,” he said.