We jumped for joy last year when ESSENCE announced plans to expand its long-standing festival to Durban, South Africa. We have even more reason to celebrate now that the first wave of the event's participants has been announced.
The inaugural ESSENCE Festival Durban is set to take place November 8th-13th and will feature appearances from American celebs such as Kelly Price, Estelle, Rev. Al Sharpton, Phaedra Parks and fitness expert Shaun T., who are all confirmed for the festival's free daytime Empowerment Experience. Comedian-turned-talk show host Steve Harvey is lending his star power to the festival as well by partnering with ESSENCE to bring more attention to the trade and business opportunities available between the United States and Africa. Gospel singer Yolanda Adams will be honored during the All-Star Gospel Tribute in addition to closing out the weekend with a performance.
It isn't only about American celebrities, however. The sister festival will also provide a platform for South African artists and experts, including renowned producer/DJ Black Coffee, actress-singer-dancer Nondumiso Tembe, singer Babes Wodumo, Big Nuz and DJ Zinhle. More guests will be announced in weeks to come.
"This inaugural ESSENCE Festival Durban will bring together voices of influence and power from the continent of Africa, the United States and around the globe to connect communities and empower women spanning the disapora," ESSENCE President Michelle Ebanks said in a statement.
The city of Durban is equally as excited as ESSENCE is for the event. Zandile Gumede, Her Worship The Mayor of Durban also expressed her excitement about the opportunities it will bring, stating, "Through this partnership with ESSENCE, we want to showcase our cultural diversity, arts and heritage as well as business acumen to South Africa and the rest of the world. Our vision is that Durban should be ‘Africa’s most caring and liveable city by 2030’, and ESSENCE Festival Durban will help towards creating a diverse cultural economy.”
ESSENCE Festival Durban will be modeled closely after its sister festival, which seeks to inform and entertain its attendees. In addition to the nightly concerts, it will offer such free components such as a Money & Power showcase, Beauty & Style Expo. Lifestyle & Wellness Experience and ESSENCE Eats, which will spotlight local cuisine.
There's still time to grab tickets for this premiere event, which will take place at the International Convention Center and the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. So pack your bags, gather your girls, grab your passport and take a visit to the Motherland for what is sure to be a one-of-a-kind experience. For more information, visit the ESSENCE website.