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Festival chaos in Limpopo

2018-09-16 07:57

City Press' Phumlani S Langa set off on a four-day trip to Thohoyandou in Limpopo to attend the Royal Heritage Festival, but things didn't go according to plan. 

Johannesburg - On Thursday last week, a large contingent of media convened at a small office building in Midrand. This was the meeting point for a four-day trip to Thohoyandou in Limpopo, the main attraction of which was the Royal Heritage Festival. The idea was that we were to be shown parts of this beautiful province as a build-up to an event that locals refer to as the Durban July of this region.

The shuttle to Thohoyandou was meant to stop off at the Tropic of Capricorn, but there were some delays in leaving and so this was skipped. No big deal, it’s just a natural wonder that some might say is a must-see. The shuttle then stopped off for what would be the first of quite a few Nando’s meals on this trip.

We arrived at a different hotel to the one that was initially booked because it’s closer – yes, the itinerary for this trip was bewildering. Upon arrival, we were meant to go to a house party at a secret location. This happened, but because it was a Thursday evening, the secret location was a bit empty. At this house party, we are given our second Nando’s meal and the general consensus was that this was now enough Nando’s.

The next morning was meant to start off with a champagne breakfast, which everyone just had to imagine as it did not happen. The group was then whisked off to a forest that was partly just an old plantation for a little off-roading.


There were seven or more Jeeps riding in convoy escorted by police, which was pretty cool. The Jeep drivers had removed their windows and roofs, which was tough as there was quite a bit of dust and, unfortunately for most of the people in the Jeeps, nobody was given dust protection and everyone was also instructed to wear white and denim.

After this strenuous activity and looking a little worse for wear, a lovely lunch was spread out at the local tea plantation, which was delightful. A short speech was given by the organisers, TGE, who apologised for the rocky start. To make amends, they invited us to the 2Ten Hotel in Thohoyandou, where a small gala event featuring Tbo Touch would be held, which sounded rather exciting. What ended up happening was that we had dinner by ourselves at a rather unimpressive establishment with no glitz, speeches or anything else worth talking about. By this point, the media began to get really upset.

The next day was the big one – the music festival. The hotel was buzzing as people got ready for a day of boating and then partying till the sun came up. The boating bit was okay, although the larger ferry was leaking when we first boarded it. Worrying that we would sink while out on the Nandoni Dam, a few speed boats were on hand and we arrived at Champagne Garden for lunch.

Adjacent to this garden, the festival marquee and stages were visible. Anticipation builds as the line-up boasts names including Shekhinah, AKA, Busiswa and DJ Tira.

We board our trusty shuttle and get some astonishing news – there are no tickets to the festival for the media. What?

TV crews were sent into a tizz as they wouldn’t have access to the story they came out to do; freelancers were panicking as they realised they had wasted four days for no story.

Fearing a riot, organisers herded everyone into a parking lot, where Fulu Manyuha from TGE attempted to quell the rage of the upset journos. He offered very little in the way of an explanation, which only increased everyone’s frustration.


He then decided to buy us dinner and everyone insisted that it couldn’t be Nando’s. We head to RocoMamas with revenge in mind. Everyone is told not to order any drinks, so we ordered a tray of tequila and the larger portions on the menu. Manyuha, feeling the financial heat of this, pulled a duck and disappeared. As we tried to depart, we were told we couldn’t and the door was locked. In case anyone wanted to climb over the fence, security was at hand to dispense justice.

We returned to Joburg after being freed from RocoMamas feeling dejected and upset. The festival was apparently a resounding success, but, thanks to the logistical brilliance of TGE and the PR company Khanya Comms, City Press is unable to tell you anything about it. What a waste. 

UPDATE: Limpopo music festival distances itself from PR team after media’s nightmare four-day trip

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