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The City of Durban in partnership with Time Inc.’s (NYSE: TIME) launched the third annual ESSENCE Festival to be held in Durban. Kwazulu-Natal born actress Nomzamo Mbatha was host of the media breakfast held on Wednesday, 19 July, at The Joint Jazz Café, South Beach in Durban.

September will see the return of the festival to Durban, under the theme; Firing Africa with Inspiration. The first phase line-up of the festival was announced and it includes: SA’s hip hop star Nasty C, Joyous Celebration, Gospel ID Finalists, appearances by Somizi Mhlongo and talks by Bishop T.D Jakes and renowned Reverend Al Sharpton. The international festival brings the best of local and international talent to Durban ICC from September 26 – 1 October 2017.

Mayor of Ethekwini municipality, Councillor Zandile Gumede highlighted that the ESSENCE Durban Festival not only benefits Kwazulu-Natal communities but also the city’s economy at large.

“The ESSENCE Durban Festival programme is diverse, informative, thought provoking and fun. It is focused on talent, cultural, economical and business development which connect with many people,” she said.

Last year the festival drew over 60,000 attendees from across the country. Injecting over R230 million into the province’s GDP.

“We are proud to partner with Time Inc.’s (NYSE: TIME) because we are both equally passionate about communities, economic empowerment, youth development and wellness,” added Gumede.

ESSENCE Festival Durban follows a similar format of the annual New Orleans event namely; “party with a purpose.” The festival is not only about music but has an innovative component that includes music & entertainment; tech & business showcases; property, art & crafts; lifestyle, wellness, food & travel; beauty, fashion & style.

Attendees of the festival can look forward to life-inspiring talks by; Bishop TD Jakes and Rev Al Sharpton. Business workshops by SA’s own business and inspirational leaders; Dr. Judy Dlamini, Khaya Dlanga, Ntombenhle Khatwane, Johanna Mukoki, Phuti Mahanyele and Bongi Shangase.

This year there is also an incredible line-up of artists and book writers in the literary arts festival; named ARTiculate.  SA’s very own columnist and writer Fred Khumalo will speak in panels alongside other popular writers such as; Deon Meyer and academics, Ashwin Desai, Prof Jonathan Jansen and Judge Chris Nicholson. Chris Hani’s daughter, Lindiwe Hani, will share from her latest book, alongside international authors Christopher Merrill, Catherine Chidgey. There will also be talks given by artists such as, Greg Maronovich to name but a few.

The launch on Wednesday was also a celebration of a successful run of this year’s ESSENCE New Orleans Festival in the US, which took place from June 29 – 2 July 2017 and featured South Africa’s very own music groups; Africa Mamas; Ithwasa Lekhansela and Afro Soul. The bands also shared their talents at the launch.

This year, Essence is proud to be partnering with, MTN; Dimension Data; South African Airways; Independent Media Group; Transnet and KwaZulu Natal Department of Arts and Culture as sponsors to the festival. The multi-day event promised to be chockfull of exhibitions, talks, workshops, installations and debates. From performances to family building workshops, the festival is about enhancing, empowering, building communities, and instilling positive thinking through spearheading Africa’s growth.

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