Moonchild Sanelly. Picture: Instagram

While the general perception of the townships has improved over the last few years, they are still seen by some as very dangerous places and meant to explore only from the comfort of high, fancy and air-conditioned buses. 

Soweto, as big as it is, is no exception.  While we applaud all of you who have made the necessary trek to visit the iconic Vilakazi Street, it would do you well to remember that there are many other places to visit. 

The opportunity, in the form of the ‘Makhelwane Street Festival, has presented itself. This gathering, taking place in Poka Street Orlando West, will showcase the best in fashion, food, art and film that the township has to offer. 

Chatting to Kgosi Rampa, one of the organisers of the Makhelwane Festival, he said the naming of the event came from a feeling they wanted being fostered into festival goers. 

“The name Makhelwane is very important to us because it’s about bringing back that spirit.  Remember back in the day, when we had few televisions in the township, we all knew that at that specific house there is a tv, and it was known that we’d all go watch it there.”

“So that’s the idea behind Makhelwane. To bring back a neighbourly feeling. That communal feeling of giving, sharing and oneness,” he said.  

The biggest growth that the festival has seen, according to Rampa, is to have the community more intimately involved with making it a reality. 

“Usually, with every other event we’d just get a petition signed by them so as to give us their permission and that would basically be the only way they participate. Now, we get them involved even further by getting brands to pay them for using their space, using them as service providers and even going as far as forming partnerships with the young people of the area for various aspects of the festival. 

"Its grown into this wholesome thing where we show you that in Soweto, we also have sommeliers, we have quality restaurants we even have boutique clothing stores. And we’ve managed to showcase all this, through the festival,” Rampa said. 

The Makhelwane Festival will take place over three days from December 14 to December 16. The lineup includes: Moonchild Sanelly, Femi Koya, Doc Shebeleza, Thasman, BigBoy, Kongisto and Hammathedude, Tlou for all the days. 

There will also be entrepreneurship based talks, poetry by Portia Monama and a film screening of Kagiso Lediga’s Matwetwe. 

Tickets for the festival are available from R150 on Webtickets. 

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