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Countdown to the biggest festival in Durban

The inaugural Essence Festival Durban kicks off in eThekwini, final preparations are going full steam ahead for the biggest festival of its kind to hit “South Africa’s Playground”.


From 8 to 13 November, Durban will be buzzing with excitement and a multitude of fun activities which will appeal to the most fastidious visitor.


The week opens with a ticketed Durban Business Fair: Business Conference which takes place from 8 – 9 November 2016. The conference aims to promote radical economic transformation agenda and will include revered business personalities such as; Phuthi Mahanyele, Thina Maziya, Busi Skenjana, Ipileng Mkhari, Mzwanele Manyi, and Kenyan business woman, Tabitha M. Karanja and Bethlemen Tilahun Alemui from Ethiopia and many more. To purchase your ticket, members of the public are urged to contact to avoid disappointment.


This will be followed by The Women’s Economic Empowerment Breakfast which will take place on 10 November 2016, with a strong focus on enhancing the economic empowerment of women through the transformation and breaking of business rules in previously male dominated industries. Keynote speakers include Media Mogul, Philanthropist and business woman, Basetsana Khumalo, Editor in Chief of Essence magazine, Vanessa De Luca and Yoliswa Gumede, founder and owner of Cappenny Estate. Patriots are urged to contact for event details and ticket sales.


From 11 – 13 November, the ESSENCE Live Experiences will be at the Durban ICC and Durban Exhibition Centre respectively. This is a free entry activity.

Events taking place at the ICC which are free and open to the public are the ARTiculate Africa Book & Art Affair and Book Fair, which will include esteemed African visual artists and authors i.e. Gcina Mhlophe and Achmat Dangor, the Empowerment stage, the Beauty and Style exhibition, Essence EATS and Flavours of Durban culinary demonstrations which will feature Durban’s most popular restaurants as well as gourmet dishes from critically acclaimed New Orleans based Chef, Chef JR from New York and Chef Lungile from Durban, to name a few.

The Empowerment Stage will feature the world’s most inspiring thought leaders, business influencers and life coaches who will engage with audiences on critical life lessons. The marquee names will feature Rev. Al Sharpton; a high profile American Civil Rights Act, a trusted White House adviser, and founder and President of the National Action Network (NAN).

He will be joined by other international guests; the influential and popular American TV talk show host, Steve Harvey, US singer, Estelle, Kelly Price, a six time Grammy nominated American R&B singer and songwriter, and Phaedra Parks, an American entertainment attorney and TV producer. Joining the distinguished panel is Executive Chairman of Venture Capital and Private Equity, Vusi Thembekwayo, Pastor Thomas Radebe, Thando Zungu as well as Basetsana Kumalo.

The lifestyle and wellness experience features fitness workouts from celebrity fitness experts as well as healthy living tips designed to help patriots live a well balanced life. Fitness fanatics can also come and enjoy a day of aerobics on 11 November at New Beach as esteemed fitness instructors; Shaun T, Somizi Mhlongo, Sibahle Mpisane and many others will alternate in conducting various forms of exercise while imparting valuable health and fitness advise. This will be followed by various presentations at the Lifestyle & Wellness Pavilion at the Durban Exhibition Centre, from a NIKE fitness instructor, Deanna Jefferson and fomer Banyana Banyana player, Amanda Dlamini.

In addition, the Durban Exhibition Centre will also feature a Music and Entertainment stage, Tech Zone, International Pavilion, Essence EATS and Flavours of Durban and a Money and Power pavilion.

Gospel music lovers will enjoy the Gospel Icons Discovery Finale which will be held on Sunday, 13 November at Ohlange Sports Ground, Inanda. The winner from this competition will later perform with Yolanda Adams at the Gospel ALL Star Concert. Judges to this competition include; Yolanda Adams, Mthunzi Namba and Thokozani Ndlovu.

The festival will close off the festivities with three ticketed music concerts beginning with an Essence All Star Jazz Concert at the Playhouse on Friday, 11 November, the Essence All Star Music Festival on Saturday, 12 November and the Essence All Star Gospel Concert on Sunday, 13 November at the stadium. Tickets available at Computicket outlets from R120.

Road Closure

Due to the festival being hosted at both the ICC and Durban Exhibition Centre, Walnut Road will be closed to traffic from 3 16 November 2016. Motorists are urged to use alternative routes.


Join the conversation on the following social media platforms:

Twitter: @essencefest

Facebook: Essence Festival

Instagram: essencefest


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