Cape Town’s early winter rain took a break this weekend to make way for sunny weather in Paarl as thousands of locals flocked to the Boland Summer Festival. Organisers say the Festival again brought in record numbers and has been hailed as a success.
“We have to think the community for always coming out in their numbers. Without their support, we cannot run this event,” said organiser Ebrahim Patel.
This year was the 17th edition of the annual event, held at the Daljosafat stadium. The festival, which is hosted by the Paarl Muslim Jamaah, is great social meeting place and kids have access to all sorts of entertainment.
Patel said the festivals stall holders were very happy with the influx of visitors and the overall organisation of the event.
The Paarl Muslim Jamaah (PMJ) boasts a 50-year history of unity, inclusive of over 1000 families who fall under one imam. The Jamaah began the festival as a predominantly “Muslim event”, and today has transformed it into a multicultural and religiously vibrant fete.
The Mayor of Drakenstein Municipality Gesie van Deventer said her relationship with the PMJ began with her inauguration as mayor in 2011.
“The PMJ is playing a wonderful role within the community – which spans all over the Western Cape,” van Deventer explained.
The festival, which attracts approximately 25 000 people, van Deventer affirmed is “very important for the tourism of Drakenstein.”
The festival provides both local and regional venders with access to weekend long business opportunities and is, therefore, “passionately” supported by the local community.
Van Deventer explained that in a country that proudly boasts a “rainbow nation”, South Africans are seldom culturally immersed. The festival she asserts, therefore, assists in establishing interfaith and intercultural bonds – and creates a sense of “Ubuntu.”
She revealed that through her relationship with the PMJ she has become familiar with the Islamic greeting of Assalamu’alaykum (may peace be upon you), which she attests is due to her emersion within the community.
She further expressed admiration for the PMJ, who in the current socio-economic, has reached out and assisted the community through numerous mechanisms. The municipality annually supports the PMJ with organizing the event.
Van Deventer explained that the municipality provides two forms of support to the festival. The first is support services such as traffic services, electricity, and water to the maximum of R 76 750. The municipality also gives R 100 000 toward the festival.
The festival is hosted on the Daljosafat Stadium, which is a municipal ground.
In addition, the municipality supports the festival by appointing either the Mayor or the Deputy Major to open the event.
“This is a wonderful tradition and the PMJ is doing a fantastic job and should carrying on [with the festival],” van Deventer concluded. VOC