Durbanites to celebrate in style

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iol news pic nt freedom day celebration in durban INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Nateshwar Dance Company rehearses at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday. The group is among entertainers lined up for the citys Freedom Day celebrations at the stadium, which start at 9am and end at 2pm. Picture BONGANI MBATHA

Durban - The city might be hosting only one Freedom Day celebration event on Sunday, but it’s going all out to ensure Durbanites celebrate in style.

The event, celebrating 20 years of democracy, will be held at Moses Mabhida Stadium from 9am to 2pm.

Entrance is free and everyone can attend.

The event will be attended by Premier Senzo Mchunu, city mayor James Nxumalo and a host of other dignitaries.

There is also an impressive line-up of entertainers.

Zakes Bantwini, Abangobi, Lerumola Sechaba, Mkhumbane Jazz, Jerry Watson, Thokozani Langa and DJ Siyanda are just some of the acts that are sure to get the crowd in a celebratory mood.

The stadium was buzzing on Saturday as workers rushed to ensure everything was ready.

Nateshwar Dance company were fine-tuning their performance for today. The company has been operating for 34 years and specialises in North Indian, classical Indian folk and Bollywood dance.

Samantha Misra, 42, from the dance company, said they were proud to be part of the Freedom Day celebration.

“We performed at the Chatsworth Stadium for Nelson Mandela when he was released from prison. So for us to be part of the 20 years of democracy celebration is amazing. I can remember going to cast my first vote and the excitement I felt in that moment. The older folk don’t take this freedom for granted,” she said.

“For people of different creeds and cultures to come together celebrating in unity is amazing and we are so proud to be part of this. It is not about one person but us as a nation.”

City spokesman Thabo Mofokeng said this was the only event planned for Freedom Day and was being hosted by the Premier’s office together with the city.

He said they were anticipating capacity crowds as people were being brought in by bus from across the province.

Celebrations will start in Inanda when Mchunu visits John Langalibalele Dube’s house. Dube is the founding president of the South African Native National Congress (SANNC), which became the African National Congress.

Mchunu and other delegates will pick up Dube’s great-granddaughter from her home before proceeding to Ohlange High School in Inanda where Nelson Mandela cast his vote in 1994.

There the delegation will visit Dube’s tombstone and Mchunu, Nxumalo and representatives of the Dube family will place flowers on his grave.

Brief speeches will follow before the procession moves to the Moses Mabhida Stadium.

There will be a colourful parade en route to the stadium with colourful bikes all decked out and different cultural and religious groups and artists performing.

Simultaneously an array of artists will be performing to the crowd at the stadium from 9am until the procession arrives.

There will be a structured programme at the stadium with prayers from the different religions.

In the true spirit of sharing, all political parties in the KZN Legislature will be allowed to speak briefly.

Messages from members of the tripartite alliance will be read and the keynote address by Mchunu will follow.

Large screens across the stadium will cross live from 10am to 11am for President Jacob Zuma’s live Freedom Day address.

Following the formal aspect of the celebration, live entertainment will continue.

The freedom flame which has been travelling across the province for the past few weeks will also be in a place of honour at the stadium.

Motorists are advised to seek alternative routes as roads around Moses Mabhida Stadium will be closed because of Freedom Day celebrations today and the aQuellé Tour Durban cycle race

on Monday.

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