EThekwini Municipal Mayor, Zandile Gumede awarded legendary Maskandi music group, Izingane Zoma with a 2017 Durban Essence Festival certificate, for their role in uniting and preserving African culture through their music.
This group, which is popularly known for their politically inspired songs i.e “Msholozi” “uMalema” and “Obama” was also recognized for the role it plays in women empowerment.
“The certificate is given to people who never forget about their culture. We reward them today to show that we appreciate the work they are doing as women and we also say to them they shall continue inspiring the nation. This is a symbol of making sure that our heritage lives on,” said Gumede.
Speaking on behalf of Izingane Zoma, Tholakele Ngobese said they are grateful that they closed off the month of September, which is Heritage month, in style.
“As a group we would like to thank the eThekwini Municipality and the Mayor for they have chosen us to receive this big award at such a big international event. We always see other people being honoured, and our wish was that our day would come too,” said Ngobese.
In addition to this acknowledgment, President Jacob Zuma honoured the band with a brand new Toyota Quantum. He said the gift was to show his appreciation to the band for the support it has given to him throughout the years – most importantly through hardships.
“The group has been very supportive towards me even when things weren’t good at all. That is why I said I’ll never forget you when I got a little bonus payment. I then decided to give to you this gift,” said the President.
Four time Grammy Award winning group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo were the recipients of the very same award last year. Having begun on the 26th of September, the highly anticipated Durban Essence Festival lived up to its magnitude; with thousands of spectators who attended the second return of the event, to South African soil, at the International Convention Centre (ICC).
The six-day global empowerment event was headlined by international acts: motivational speaker, Bishop TD Jakes; civil rights activist, Rev. Al Sharpton; as well as actress and songstress, Jill Scott.
With some spectators dressed in their colourful traditional attire, and Durban as the city that celebrates and embraces cultural activities, Essence Magazine Editor-In-Chief Vanessa De Luca said they are grateful to be hosted by the city as delegates from New Orleans in the USA.
“This year’s theme, Firing Africa with inspiration, pays homage to the birthplace of culture throughout the African diaspora. We are proud to be in Durban, a South African city that provides the perfect backdrop for cultural exchange on a global stage,” said De Luca.
The festival also saw an All Star Concert, with performances from the likes of Nasty C, Babes Wodumo, Khuzani, Mi Casa, DJ Merlon and Jill Scott on Sunday (1 October). Bishop TD Jakes and the internationally acclaimed, award-winning Gospel music ensemble, MTN Joyous Celebration closed things off with a spiritual experience.