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The Back to the City Festival gives Joburg residents the chance to celebrate Freedom Day in a whirl of arts and culture.
FREEDOM Day will be celebrated in hip-hop style in Johannesburg, with a Back to the City Festival taking place in Newtown.


DJ Switch will be spinning vinylsDJ Switch will be spinning vinylsThe festival, now in its fourth year, takes place outside Ritual Stores on the corner of Bree and Henry Nxumalo streets. Audiences can look forward to live music, street arts, breakdancing, an art installation, skateboarding, film, street soccer, street fashion, gaming, and speakers as well as a panel discussion.

The programme will start at 10am at Newtown’s City Varsity school of film and creative arts, where a mini educational summit will tackle issues within the media, advertising and music industries. Here artists can learn techniques that will help them to manage their careers and grow their brands.

Performers and DJs will entertain the guests throughout the day, with skateboarding and BMX adding flavour to the street culture. The fine and digital art exhibition as well as film screenings will be hosted by Ritual Stores, displaying the work of artists from diverse backgrounds.

This year the festival introduces a few new elements, namely the art of the battle and dance battles which give artists the chance to test their ability against others. Other new elements feature international performances and street soccer.

Popular hip-hop artists like Khuli Chana, Proverb, Kwesta, Tuks and HHP will share the stage with a host of other up-and-coming musicians.

Hip-hop artist Khuli Chana is among the top hip-hop artists to perform at the festivalHip-hop artist Khuli Chana is among the top hip-hop artists to perform at the festivalOn the turntables, DJ Zakes, DJ X, DJ Switch and many more will do what they do best.

The concert will end at 11pm. Tickets are priced at R60 each and will be available at the gate.

Freedom Day is celebrated annually in South Africa on 27 April, and marks the country's first democratic elections, held 17 years ago.

The remembrance of this day fosters unity within the rainbow nation. Freedom Day plays a role in implementing change in attitudes among South Africans, and also in raising awareness of equal rights despite differences in ethnicity and culture.

National celebrations will take place at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Expatriate South Africans will not be left out, with a Freedom Day party taking place in London on Saturday, 30 April.

Those who will not make it to the Newtown festival can commemorate the occasion in other ways. They can visit places that have historical significance in South Africa’s freedom struggle, such as the Kliptown Museum, the Hector Peterson Museum, or Mandela House in Orlando West. In the inner city, one can visit Gandhi Square and Constitution Hill in Braamfontein.

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