The Phalarborwa township in the Mopani district of Limpopo in South Africa is all but in over drive preparations for the 15th Marula Festival slated for the last week of 22-29 February 2020.
The district which is famous for the Marula fruits and trees is once again ready to unleash a marquee celebration to befit the status of the World acclaimed Amarula drink.
With the tacit support of the Limpopo Tourism Agency and the leadership of the province, organizers of the event have promised another celebration worthy of attendance.
The theme for the festival is 'Discover the Wealth of Marula',
In an interview with VoyagesAfriq, Marilda Wiegand, Chairperson of the Pharlarborwa Tourism Association said, the celebration is important to highlight the benefits of the fruit and also help showcase the best of the district.
According to her, the festival which is entering its 15th year has become a commercial event and as such created allot of spin offs for the area.
From understanding the culture of the whole Marula process to skills development programs are some of the highlights of the festival. We hold culinary session where chefs are encouraged to come up with variety of menu with the Marula fruit. She added that, the festival allows people to celebrate the greatness of Marula.
The CEO of the Limpopo Tourism Agency Nomasonto Ndlovu said ''Marula Festival offers us an opportunity to connect merrymakers and travellers to Phalaborwa whose existence has to go beyond its historical mining activities. The traditional celebrations of the first taste of marula is now combined with a cultural extravaganza and food cuisine to draw travellers to this part of Limpopo''
''The festival's existence for 15 years has given us a space to leverage on the route R71 and it's many offerings. We are delighted to host visitors from all parts of the South Africa and neighbouring countries to celebrate tradition and discover more to enjoy in Limpopo, particularly the world famous Kruger National Park'' she concluded.
Wild-grown outside of normal agricultural practices, the small yellow fruit are collected from January to March and traditionally used by women to brew a sour beer, offered to their husbands for praise, but also used for juice and other medicinal purposes.
The marula tree is protected by the communities and by law, and heavy fines befall those who decide to chop one down for any reason. Between the Department of Environmental Affairs and SANParks, awareness raising and reforestation campaigns aim to make the tree flourish in a sustainable manner, bringing economic benefit to communities.
The festival also provides visitors with a chance to explore the rest of Limpopo and share in its natural beauty and cultural experiences. The event alone is expected to bring inject some hard cash to the local economy of Ba-Phalaborwa and the Mopani District.
The Festival of The First Fruit – ‘Ku LumaNguva’/’Go Loma Morula’ – is a heritage phenomenon which is performed by traditional leaders at the beginning of the marula season. It is a heritage practice that precludes any drinking of the marula beverage before traditional leaders have blessed the season.