Isingqisethu cultural festival unites artists in Port St Johns

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The Eastern Cape Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture promotes unity among artists on the opening day of the Isingqisethu Cultural Festival in Port St Johns.

The event was established 21 years ago to preserve the diverse cultures of the province. Talented and renowned artists share the stage. They showcase their skills in art, dance and music.

MEC Nonceba Kontsiwe says, “Isingqisethu intends to preserve the diversity of culture in the Eastern Cape, even crafters do things according to different cultures in the province. We pride ourselves on saying even those who are performing grow through Isingqisethu and are able to perform in other provinces.”

Local artists welcome the platform, saying it also gives them exposure.

Cultural dancer Phumeza Basakhwe says “Sharing big stages with like Bethusile Mcinga is a dream to many artists as well as successful groups and we will learn a lot from them when we engage with other artists.”

Cultural craftsperson Beatrice Mfikiza says, ‘This event will have a great impact on my life. I have gained a lot, for example, it is my first day but I have already sold most of my items. I will be able to buy food, I also met new customers here.”

Maskhandi Artist Mthandeni was the main attraction on the first day of the event. He also urges artists to unite and preserve diverse cultures.

Maskhandi Artist Mthandeni Manqele says, “I get so emotional when I get to the Eastern Cape and get so much love. I see people who love each other. Maskhandi music and cultural music were undermined but now our music is respected, we go to other countries to perform I’m happy because it is also uniting everyone.”

MEC Kontsiwe explains, “This is supposed to be a national event, that is why we always see to it that there must be artists from national which we call crowd pullers. We want to encourage artists that they must accept the diversity of South Africa so that they are welcomed in other provinces if they are identified.”

Artist have called for more platforms to grow their crafts.