Above many other things, South Africans are known for their culture of celebration. Remember the 2010 Soccer World Cup? Of course you do! The African soil was burning with enthusiasm and celebration, with various festivities taking place in every city during the event. If one thing stood out back then, it was our sense of celebration and camaraderie, a flame that still burns within each and every one of us.
We caught up with entrepreneur JP Prinsloo from events company, Prifactor, to find out about the biggest and best annual events in South Africa. JP is involved in the organising of many events in the country, so who better to ask?
“With our unique richness of culture and diversity, South Africans have so much to celebrate,” says Prinsloo, “and what I personally love is the willingness to be a part of the success of fellow South Africans, as well.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself! From Charlize Theron’s Oscar moment in 2003, to Tsotsi’s Academy Award in 2006, Caster Semenya’s 800 metre World Championship win in 2009, and Black Coffee’s win at the BET Awards just a few weeks ago, these are only a few moments where we felt it necessary to embrace being South African, and oh, how we owned it!
Just in case you ever needed a reminder, here’s a list of the top six annual events that make us proud to be South African, year after year:
- The South African Music Awards is a premier music showcase. This annual event honours the country’s best music talent over two days in key categories, as they battle for the South African industry’s highest honour – the title of SAMA Award winner. Nominees take the stage, as the nation watches in awe via live broadcast of the event. This year, for the first time ever, the awards have migrated to South Africa’s real sun city – where the sands are golden, the weather is warm and the sun is always shining – Durban. As music is one of those things that brings an event together, how much better to have an event around the music entirely?
- South Africa’s Got Talent is a showcase of talent from all over the country, and is part of the Got Talent series, created by Simon Cowell. The show presents singers, dancers, comedians, magicians and other performers, creating a platform for underrated performers. The winner of the series walks away with R500 000, and one of the reasons why this show is so popular is because South Africa goes on a journey with the contestant. In the end, we can celebrate the victory of the winner.
- The Kaapse Klopse (Cape Carnival) invites everything colourful, sparkly and South African to be a part of it. The brightly coloured costumes and glitter light up the streets of Cape Town to welcome the New Year with music and dancing. There is no New Year’s party like the Kaapse Klopse. The annual festival takes place on the 2nd of January, or Tweede Nuwe Jaar, as one would say in Afrikaans, and the obscure date takes us back in history, to the days when slaves were given the day off by their bosses, during the festive season.
- The Comrades Marathon is an ultramarathon of approximately 89km and it’s one of the world’s oldest and largest marathons. The run takes place between the cities of Durban and Pietermaritzburg, in KwaZulu-Natal. In 1921, when the run began, it started off as a tribute to the South African soldiers who lost their lives during World War I. There was a brief 5-year gap, as a result of World War II, but it has resumed as an annual event ever since.
- The Grahamstown National Arts Festival is the biggest annual arts event on the African continent! The festival is an appreciation to showcase everything to do with the arts – from dance, drama, visual arts, music, opera, film, and so much more. With zero censorship, the Grahamstown Arts Festival is a platform for political and protest theatre. It runs for 11 days from the end of July to the beginning of August, and the programme is packed with a selection of exhibits. The National Lottery Fringe is also incorporated into the main festival, where performances are open to all and exempt from the main festival’s selection process.
- The Soweto Derby is a soccer game involving Soweto-based teams, Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs, and Moroka Swallows. The derby matches between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates are one of the biggest derby matches in the world and the fiercest soccer game on the African continent.The game commemorates a rivalry between the Soweto Clubs that lasted over 40 years. It’s believed that the rivalry between these two soccer clubs came from the fact that former Orlando Pirates star, Kaizer Motaung had played for Orlando Pirates prior to forming Kaizer Chiefs. This is definitely one to mark on the calendar!
As you can clearly see, South Africans celebrate various events, in different shapes and forms. From sports to art, the South African celebratory genes are strong! “Events are occasions to unite,” says Prinsloo, “and there’s nothing better than knowing that I am able to add to the joys and festivities.”