Ricochet News

VIDEO: SPAR Kirkwood Wildsfees Gala Dinner officially opens popular annual festival

BY MARC JACOBSON - JUNE 30, 2017
VIDEO: SPAR Kirkwood Wildsfees Gala Dinner officially opens popular annual festival

The SPAR Kirkwood Wildsfees had its official Gala Dinner at the Kirkwood High School on Thursday night, where the popular festival opened way for its 16th annual edition.

Themed ‘Embrace your African Soul’, the Gala Dinner hall was draped, decorated and lighted in African colours and patterns, and with African drama and song entertaining guests during their meals; the dinner accentuated the agenda of the festival moving forward – to embrace being a proud citizen on the continent.

“Our passion is people, our passion is South Africa and our passion is for the disadvantaged, and our performances is a small window for another festival that could be an icon in the Eastern Cape; one which celebrates Africa,” said Jennifer Honsbein, Festival Director, at the Gala Dinner.

“South Africa is the only country that does not have a holistic African festival,” she added.

The Wildsfees have a total 25 sponsors covering all spheres, including SPAR as the naming sponsor, as well as their main, supporting, product and even media sponsors.

“All sponsors help the Kirkwood Wildlife Festival, a non-profit organization, and our ultimate objective is not only to bring investment and spotlight to our rural valley, but also to uplift the many disadvantaged people in our area,” Honsbein said.

“The exhausted power after the event is what benefits the community and it has been cited through a survey that the Kirkwood Wildsfees has a financial injection of over R60-million into the Eastern Cape.”

Although the annual Kirkwood Wildsfees runs parallel with the Grahamstown Arts Festival every year, the festival continues to grow on an upward trend, without being threatened by its local neighbouring showpiece.

“We continue to see its [Kirkwood Wildsfees] resilience, we continue to appreciate the diversity of the offering, and most importantly of course, it is extremely exciting,” expressed Vuyo Zitumane, Chairperson of the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency Board.

“In recent years, the Eastern Cape has become an attractive adventure host province for all kinds of events, and the Kirkwood Wildsfees has become one of the premium events of the South African calendar and the second biggest cultural festival in the country,” Zitumane added.

Zitumane also stated that in 2016, the Kirkwood Wildsfees managed to secure over 45 000 supporters who had come to enjoy and engage with the offering of the festival.

“The impact of this event is very huge, it brings communities together and has created that social cohesion, and is also creating jobs,” she said.

“The fiscus in this country is shrinking, and things as its going is not going to get better, but Tourism as a sector continues to be resilient and it’s only through events of this nature that we can turnaround the economic landscape of this area,” Zitumane concluded.

Image: The performance group, Kunjani Africa, entertaining guests at the Gala Dinner.

Watch to see what  else Vuyo Zitumane had to say, as well as some performances from Kunjani Africa, at the Gala Dinner