Organizers of the 2015 Boland Summer Festival say they are overwhelmed by the level of public support this weekend. Well over 30 000 people braved the intense Paarl heat to attend this year’s event, which raises funds for the Paarl Muslim Jamaah (PMJ)and community organizations. PMJ chairperson Moutie Richards hailed this year’s festival, saying the amount of feet into the Dal Josafat stadium had surpassed previous years.
“Shukran to Allah (swt) for granting us another very successful festival. We didn’t expect the influx of people this year. Early indications are that we have done better than last year and we believe this was the best festival over the last 16 years,” reported PMJ chairperson Moutie Richards.
The PMJ has grown over the years from a small community to a large one. Richards says the success of the festival is a result as of the commitment of the community.
“The unity of the jamaah is the reason we do so well in Paarl,” said Richards.
While the increase in festival-goers was positive for the growth of the event, it also presented problems in terms of security and crime prevention. Many stallholders complained that they been plagued by shoplifters, particularly by delinquent children.
“Children attending the event always seem to steal from the stall holders goods and there have been many complaints regarding the issue. Its something we will seriously address for next year,” said Richards.
The festival serves as a means to assist PMJ to keep providing the services they do. The fundraising event also caters for the Wellington and Stellenbosch jamaahs as well, as they have stalls at the festival along side the PMJ.
“We have a very big infrastructure to maintain. The funds will help us to keep doing what we do,” says Richards.
The festival attracted all walks of life, including people from all religious denominations and backgrounds.
“The festival attracted a diverse group of people. People from all cultures and backgrounds came to the festival to enjoy the family atmosphere,” said Richards.
Stall holders at the festival were satisfied with business. Many of them said the reason they were attracted to the festival every year is due to the festival’s marketability, which makes business productivity good and stable.
For clothing vendor Salie Kleinsmith from Kensington, stocking up for the festival was a delight as he enjoyed the atmosphere.
“We like coming to the festival. We stock up for it every year and the weather’s good, business is good and it’s for a good cause. The festival just draws one in,” he said, adding that he was eager to return next year.
Judith from Wynberg sold dishcloths, socks, shoes and caps.
“I’m originally from Congo so coming to the festival is good for me. Just being amongst the people and festivity is good ….so that’s a bonus.”
For bag and sunglasses vendor Sedrick, a trader in the Cape Town CBD, the festival was very profitable.
“It’s good for me to come here. I normally stand on Cape Town parade but business there is always business here,” says Sedrick.
Toy vendor Arifqah from Athlone was upset that certain stall holders had been able to take extra stalls on Sunday. She said this took away business from the regular stall holders.
“Why must they have extra stalls? People come for one day and they take our customers and make business bad,” moaned Arifqah.
One of the most unique products was sold by scarf vendor Zurina Mohamed who offered customers a pinless scarf. Mohamed is the Cape Town agent of the Ajmaan Scarf, produced by a local designer in Johannesburg. Her product was showcased internationally at New Year Fashion Week last year. By trading at the festival, she gave locals the opportunity to purchase her garment.
“It was the first time that scarves was asked to be showcased at fashion week and it’s been well received locally. The fabric is so unique, you wont find it here,” said Mohamed.
While the weather was extremely hot, most festival-goers made the most of the outdoor environment in the scenic Paarl valley.
“The festival is great as is spacious and the children can enjoy themselves. It is not as claustrophobic as other festival. It’s very relaxing,” said Suraya Mammoth from Goodwood.
“I like it here, it’s nice for the children,” says Gaironesa Mohammad.
“Even though it is my first time I’m enjoying the festival it’s very relaxing. There are many festivals in Paarl but this is the best one,” said Jean.
“This is my fourth year at the festival as I enjoy the food and the family day,” added Sadiqah Cupido.
“I come every year. The people and stalls are appealing,” said Wilmean Williams, also from Paarl. VOC