News South Africa

India comes to Joburg

The FNB Gauteng Diwali Festival will be held at Mary Fitzgerald Square, Newtown, Johannesburg on Saturday, 3 October 2009. Of religious significance, it will bring with it the subcontinent's colourful culture and spicy entertainment.

This "festival of lights" is being hosted by the Gauteng Region of the South African Hindu Maha Sabha and the Tamil Federation of Gauteng, with the backing of the City of Johannesburg and First National Bank (FNB). Following its successful launch in Lenasia last year, the festival now fittingly moves to Joburg's cultural hub of Newtown.

Since 2001, FNB has been a proud sponsor of South Africa's largest Diwali Festival in KwaZulu-Natal - the FNB Durban Diwali Festival. "Our involvement with the FNB Durban Diwali Festival is not only of a financial nature, our staff are also actively involved in the organising and the co-ordinating of the festival," said Bobby Madhav, FNB provincial chairman for Gauteng.

Cultural diversity

"Last year, our involvement with this festival extended to Gauteng as arts and culture continues to be an important focus area for FNB, with a particular interest in programmes that promote the identification and promotion of cultural diversity within communities across South Africa," continued Madhav.

Good over Evil

The FNB Gauteng Diwali Festival 2009 will celebrate the symbolic victory of good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and light over darkness with an array of captivating sights, sounds, aromas and experiences that will bring the intoxicating excitement and culture of India to downtown Jozi.

The festival starts at 11am and showcases a fireworks display at 8.30pm, followed by a spectacular Bhangra party hosted by popular radio personalities.

A varied palate

The event will cater for a varied palate, from traditional Hindu entertainment, community and religious showcases to contemporary performance art that is growing in popularity, especially among the young.

The non-stop entertainment menu will range from vibrant Bollywood dance competitions to stylish classical Bharata Natyam dance.

Diwali has its origins in the Sanskrit word "Deepavali", which means a display or cluster of lights that stands for the victory of light over darkness. Diwali falls on "Amavasyaa", a night when there is no moonrise and darkness is all-pervasive.

The introduction of light, the symbol of hope and positivity, represents the triumph of good over evil, and also celebrates the return of Lord Rama to his kingdom of Ayodhya after 14 years in exile.

Celebrate diversity

"We would like to encourage South Africans from all religions and walks of life to forget their differences, celebrate our nation's cultural and artistic diversity and join us for this year's festival of lights," says the Festival Committee's chairperson, Vishnu Pillay. The festival seeks to create a heightened awareness of Hindu culture, and offer a performance platform for local artists while encouraging community participation.

The Gauteng branch of the South African Hindu Maha Sabha and the Tamil Federation of Gauteng, provincial bodies dedicated to furthering the cultural, artistic, political and spiritual interests of Hindus in South Africa, are jointly presenting the event.

The Festival Committee has announced partnerships with Eastern Mosaic, Post, Sutra Magazine, Zee TV and Lotus FM.

Entrance to the FNB Gauteng Diwali Festival is free.

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