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The Soweto Festival of Light once more offers Joburg families and residents the best way to kick-start their holiday period.

The festival, which will be officially launched by Joburg Executive Mayor Mpho Parks Tau on Thursday, 18 December, runs from 4pm to 9pm daily at Mofolo South Nursery through Sunday, 21 December.

Since its inception in 2012, the event has grown in size and in fame, and is expected to attract close on 60 000 visitors this year, making it the largest annual family lifestyle event in Soweto - and well on its way to becoming the biggest event of its kind in the country.

What sets the Festival apart from similar events is the safe and hospitable environment that is created, with a special focus on activities that appeal to the tastes of families with children. The organisers are proud of the fact that not a single incident of bad behaviour was recorded at last year's event, and both security and medical services will be on hand again to provide peace of mind to parents who want to bring their children along to experience the wide range of happenings.

Councillor Chris Vondo, MMC for Community Development, says the City of Johannesburg is delighted to be working with organisers The Imagineering Corporation and Showtime Marketing once more to create an event that strengthens the image of Soweto as a vibrant and exciting hub within Gauteng.

"The Soweto Festival of Light brings a spirit of joy to many families in Soweto and creates a true 'African Christmas', especially for children who do not have the opportunity to enjoy a holiday away from home during the festive season," says MMC Vondo.

Mayor Tau and his wife, Pilisiwe Twala-Tau, will officially switch on the lights during Thursday's opening. Ms Twala-Tau is the patron of the Festival.

Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo and City Power are among the departments and agencies that are working with the organisers to make this year's Festival another success. Entrance to the event is free.

The event helps to build a positive image of Soweto, and will bring long-term benefits to the growth of the tourism industry while contributing to a vibrant, warm and cohesive community.

At the same time, the Festival creates work for performance artists, entertainers, security personnel and support staff recruited from the greater Soweto area. It also benefits a number of Soweto charities dedicated to caring for underprivileged children and the elderly, including Love Jozi Generation, which gives young people life skills, financial management and leadership development training.

Alan Busuttil from The Imagineering Corporation says the Festival is also a great opportunity for talented young fashion designers to showcase their designs at the Soweto's Got Talent event, which will be hosted on a daily basis at the amphitheatre.

Other expected activations include:

  • A Holiday Beach with sand castle competitions and other activities usually associated with the seaside.
  • The Tombola Alley, including face painting.
  • The Baobab Forest, creating a true symbol of an African Christmas.
  • The Circle of Light, designed to bring joy and laughter into the lives of families.
  • Hands on Deck, an interactive experience that allows children to express their creativity.
  • Father Christmas Land, Play Land, Mirror Land and the Power of Dreams.

The Mofolo South Nursery is located on the corner of Elias Motsoaledi and Chris Hani Roads, and is within easy walking distance of Rea Vaya's Thokoza Park station.