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Feeste | Festivals > Kennisgewings | Notices

Organisers celebrate a successful Festival of Lights


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Photo: Mark Straw

This year's FNB Gauteng Diwali Festival of Lights was celebrated with a bang as Newtown was illuminated by a fiesta of fireworks on Saturday night. The show, was a kaleidoscope of music, brightly-hued costumes, singing and dancing, as more than 15000 visitors made their way to Mary Fitzgerald Square for the annual celebration this weekend.

The theme of this year's FNB Gauteng Diwali festival was “Light up the World”. It was hosted by the South African Hindu Maha Sabha, endorsed by the City of Johannesburg and sponsored by First National Bank.

The festival boasted a diverse and exciting mix of food and retail stalls, as well as entertainment ranging from Bollywood dancing to Bengali folk music, a live performance by acclaimed percussionist Ashish Joshi and his band, activities such as clay lamp and henna painting, as well as lending their artistic talents to creating a Rangoli – a decorative artwork, as well as fire dancers, a Bollywood dance-off and Sari Idols. The visitors immersed themselves in song, dance and bargain shopping, while exotic aromas wafted through the square, tempting the sampling of traditional cuisine on offer. The event started at 10am, and was filled with exciting entertainment which included a spectacular fireworks display and Bhangra beats provided by popular DJ Zuby, from Mumbai.

“This year's FNB Gauteng Diwali festival surpassed all our expectations and was bigger, better and filled with loads of vibrancy, ,” said Bobby Madhav, FNB CEO: Global Business. FNB has been sponsoring the festival since 2009, and has seen it evolve into one of the highlights on the Gauteng social calendar.

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Photo: John Hogg

Festival Director, Jayesperi Moopen added “The festival went off without a hitch, and the number of people who enjoyed themselves simply endorsed our initial motivation for sponsoring the event. We wanted to ensure that the FNB Gauteng Diwali Festival would celebrate cultural diversity and tolerance within our communities. The number of people who attended, and the diversity of the crowd was proof that the event did just that.”

“We were really proud to share our culture with our fellow South Africans. It was inspiring to see the different types of people who attended – from those who were curious about Hinduism, to those who wanted to sample the delicious food on offer, to those who came to celebrate their own customs. It was overwhelming to see how people embraced others' customs, and joined us in celebrating one of the most important festivals on the Hindu calendar,” said Ashwin Trikamjee, president of the South African Hindu Maha Sabha.

“We are already starting to plan for next year's extravaganza, said Trikamjee, “This year's event has set a very high standard and we will endeavour to raise the bar even higher next year.”

The South African Hindu Maha Sabha would like to thank the following sponsors for their invaluable support of the FNB Gauteng Diwali Festival: First National Bank, Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, SWAD Restaurant (hospitality sponsor), Eastern Mosaic/SABC 2, Saffron TV, SA India Magazine, The Post Jet Airways, Lotus FM and Zee TV.