“I am 78 years old. Today, I felt 25.”
We just love the way in which these words by a distinguished gentleman from Mamelodi, Gauteng, captured the spirit of the very first Van Toeka Af Festival held in the township on Saturday, 11 November 2023. The festival set the stage for a new tradition in Mamelodi, Gauteng – creating a platform for residents to relive the township’s glory days through music and fashion.
Van Toeka Af festival-goers’ stunning outfits paid homage to Mamelodi’s rich cultural history. Rose Rabada, Dimakatso Rabada and Koketso Rabada were amongst the attendees who were dressed to the nines for the occasion.
All smiles at the inaugural Van Toeka Af festival on Saturday 11 November 2023.
Over 300 enthusiastic guests gathered at Mamelodi West’s Central Sportsground – dressed to the nines as they embraced the theme by dressing up in true Sophia Town style. MCs Kate Kekana and Paballo Varie, well-known public speakers in the local Mamelodi scene, guided the day’s festivities. Author Aubrey Mogase also took to the stage to delve into the history of Mamelodi and provide a deeper understanding of the township’s cultural evolution.
Well-known local public speaker, Kate Kekana, was one of the MCs at Saturday’s Van Toeka Af festival.
Guests were treated to an outstanding musical lineup featuring performances by the Double D live band from Mamelodi East, two local DJs, and, much to the delight of festival-goers, the legendary artist Freddie Gwala. Members of local jazz clubs added to the cultural richness of the event, which also featured a range of stalls offering a diverse range of experiences – from food vendors and wine tasting to unique thrift finds and handmade jewellery.
The presence and performance of musical legend Freddie Gwala, was a particular highlight of the very first Mamelodi Van Toeka Af festival. He was joined by his team of three back-up dancers.
Local entrepreneurs participated in the Van Toeka Af festival, selling delicious meals and a variety of products.
Rhulani Maluleke, Nedbank Mams Mall branch manager, delivered an inspiring keynote address, paying homage to the pioneers who have built Mamelodi’s heritage. “Nedbank is proud to be part of such a vibrant community which has immensely contributed to the success and thriving of the country. Today, we want to look back and celebrate what Mamelodi has produced,” said Maluleke. Maluleke added that, “Nedbank is nothing without the community. Hence, one of the things that we pride ourselves in is social cohesion and being able to bring forth the spirit of Ubuntu, the spirit of unity. We are the people that are able to transform and change the things that we are seeing today. Despite the challenges we face here in Mamelodi, we can still say there is hope in Mamelodi. The future can still be brighter than it is today.”
The festival also marked the commemoration of Ranyaka’s decade-long commitment to the co-creation of thriving communities countrywide.
“Celebrations unite. They foster cohesion. They remind us what we have in common – a shared heritage and a shared future – and that is what today is all about. Whether in Mamelodi or any other community across South Africa, we know that when we mobilise around a common, positive agenda, we can do more together.” – Ranyaka Chief Executive Officer, Sithembiso Malevu.
The Ranyaka Community Transformation team members celebrated 10 years of Ranyaka’s existence and four years of working in partnership with Mamelodi stakeholders. Photographed here are a few members of the team.
“As we celebrate our organisation’s tenth birthday today, Ranyaka would like to celebrate the opportunity that the PoMT initiative to date has afforded our team to work with dynamic change agents in 28 communities all across South Africa. In Mamelodi, we have been working hand-in-hand with local stakeholders and the community for the past four years and have seen the impact of collaboration, active citizenry, and the PoMT investment in the township to date of over R1,3m.”
The response from guests was overwhelmingly positive and the general feeling was that the festival should definitely become an annual tradition. “We believe that the festival has the potential to evolve into a proudly Mamelodi tradition, attracting a growing number of renowned artists over time!” – Ranyaka Marketing Manager Lesego Masethe
A big thank you to our local coordinator in Mamelodi, Itumeleng Masethe and the team of Ranyaka volunteers who worked incredibly hard to ensure the success of the day – from handling registration and managing waste to ensuring smooth operation of logistics. Fifteen members of the local Community Policing Forum who recently completed Ranyaka’s Community Safety programme were on site to ensure a safe environment for all attendees.