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Highlights From Essence Festival 2017

Inspiration fired at this year’s Essence Festival

Article and Images by Thabile Shange

The first day of October saw Durban wrapping up yet another successfully hosted Essence Festival. Dressed in their best fashions, Durbanites and people from all over the country made their way to the ICC building to attend one of the most spectacular events in the city.

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The theme for this year was, Firing Africa with Inspiration and it was carried out splendidly. It was indeed inspiring to see work from both young and old people being displayed and admired by people from all over the country as well as international guests.

At the business exhibitions, I took my time and walked to each stall. I was amazed by all the talent that was proudly displayed by the designers. From traditional African attires to beadwork and other handcrafted creations.

I had an opportunity to chat with some of the entrepreneurs and they were more than happy to talk about their work. They shared stories of the struggles that they faced during the early days of their businesses and also talked about where they draw their inspiration from.  I learnt that they may have had different experiences but their humbleness and passion for their craft is what they all shared in common.

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The festival did not exclude bookworms like myself. The Articulate Africa book fair programme bought authors like, Deepak Panday, Ashwin Desai, Chris Abani and many others who talked about their books and answered questions from the audience.

The Beauty and Style Exhibition provided a panel discussion facilitated by television personality and radio presenter, Selby ‘Selbeyonce’ Mkhize. The topic was ‘Fleek and Fabulous-Turning Glamour into Gold (making money from your passion)’

Sitting on the panel was, Ntombenhle Khathwane, the CEO and founder of AfroBotanics, Nthato Mashishi who is a celebrity make-up artist, Rupert Mpanza, a top Durban hair stylist and Mthoko ‘uSwenka’ Chiyi who is a radio personality and a style guru.

With all the experts in the building, the audience was treated with a variety of style tips.  From choosing the right makeup for your skin tone to the importance of knowing the right bra size for the ladies. The men were not left, the panel also held discussions about how men can also take care of their bodies and why they should not be ashamed to professionally treat their nails with a male manicure. They also gave advice to aspiring entrepreneurs on how to start and grow their businesses.

The event closed with a memorable evening with Bishop TD Jakes and the MTN Joyous Celebration who did not deprive the audience of a good time.

With the Essence Festival, Durban has once again proved that it can be the mother of all hosts. Not only did I have a great time but I also went home with an inspired and empowered mind.

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