The eventful week we have been waiting for has come and passed! The biggest and most exciting yearly event – The Drakensberg Extravaganza took place in its home town Bergville – a small town situated in the foothills of the Drakensberg mountains. The event was stretched out for a full eleven days, starting on the 29th November 2019 and ended on the 1st December 2019.
This massive event was all fun as a variety of festivities were presented for the public. The Drakensberg Extravaganza promotes healthy living, social cohesion, the importance of a culture centric community, youth empowerment in KZN, but specifically in the Okhahlamba Region.
The success of the event was proven by the attendance rate. The festivities hosted were an array of entertainment festivities, educational festivities and family festivities.
The role out of the eleven-day event throughout the eleven days started with the Tourism Summit and Business Fair which started on the 21st November and ended on the 22nd. At this event there were exhibitions of different businesses promoting their products and services, with a kiddies fun park just outside for the convenience of the parents and for the kids to have their own fun.
On 22nd November we attended the Jazz and Heritage Experience – a welcoming event boasting an intimate jazz and indigenous music exhibition and trade show.
The Josiah Gumede Marathon, Josiah Gumede Memorial Lecture celebrated Magwaza Maphalala And Drakensberg Extravaganza Mountain Biking and Trial Run on 23 November. This was the meeting point of all atheltes, who were running the 42.3km marathon, 21.1km Half marathon and the 10km Unity run. This event boasted food vendors, exhibitions and trade as well as a kiddies fun park. Later that day, the ‘Josiah Gumede Memorial Lecture’ themed “Celebrates Magwaza Maphalala” took place, which was accompanied by choral, accapella and liberation music. On the same day, there was a Mountain Biking race (20Km and 10Km) and a Trial Run (5Km) taking place, which will commence at the Champagne Sports Resorts that same morning.
On 24th November the Road Cycling and Traverse Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park (WHS) Hike) where registered cyclers got to cycle the 80Km road race (Main Race), 105Km road race (Elites). For juniors, there was a 36Km road race and 15Km fun ride road race. At the complex there was a variety food vendors, exhibitions and trade as well as a cycling clinic for interested people. On that same day, there was a 1day hike headed to the UNESCO World Heritage site. The hike converged at the Mahai Camp in the Royal Natal Park.
The Fashion and Film Meets Tourism event took place on 25th November. This was a fun event that hosted a series of fashion workshops, fashion shows and fashion competitions. Holistically combined with the Drakensberg Film Festival which included and hosted the KZN Film Commission, NFVF, KZN Fashion council, DUT Fashion and Textile Department, Fashion experts and Trendsetters. This was then followed by the Rural Youth and Entrepreneurship Empowerment Summit on 26th November. This event was aimed at empowering the youth and introducing them to entrepreneurship. This event housed key speakers like Vusi Thembekwayo in pursuit of motivating the youth and opening them up to business opportunities, creativity, education and success.
On 27 November the Agriculture and Land Summit took place. At the summit they addressed poverty, unemployment and socio-economic inequalities for inclusive growth through agriculture and land reform.
The Social Cohesion and Moral Regeneration Summit, and the Drakensberg Professionals and Academic Gala Dinner was held on 28th November. At this summit they addressed amongst many things, values of ubuntu, family values, justice and crime prevention etc. There were also gospel artists who performed and pastors who motivated the crowd. We then attended a professionals’ gala dinner where successful professionals across the country at both private and public sectors who originates from the district were hosted to network and spark radical economic change in the district.
The Cultural and Creative Industry Summit, The Inaugural Golf Tournament and The Comedy and Poetry Experience were hosted on 29th November. This was a creative industry workshop that aimed at advancing the creative economy for youth development and job creation inclusive of visual arts, cultural industry, creative careers and an establishment of an Arts and Crafts Incubator. On the same day, there was a Golf Day Tournament, 18 holes at the Champagne Sports Resort, ending the day at the comedy and poetry experience, that hosts comedians, poets and food vendors.
The main event was hosted on 30th November – The Drakensberg Extravaganza Music Experience. An outdoor artistic music experience that hosts all genres. There were big artists like Sjava, Simmy, Black Motion, Simphiwe Dana, Kwesta and many more that were advertised on our social media platforms as well as on posters. The festival ended on 1st December with a free picnic at Woodstock Dam and water sports activities. We closed of the Extravaganza with a laid back free picnic that features local and budding artists performing from the district. There was also water sports activities happening at the Woodstock Dam such as Jet skiing race, Jet ski display and clinics as well as boat tours.