Johannesburg Executive Mayor Councillor Mpho Parks Tau on Thursday night flicked the switch to
light up Mofolo South in Soweto, officially opening the third annual Soweto Festival of Light and
ushering in the 2014 festive season.
Designed with a storybook feel, the festival has every year transformed Mofolo Nursery into a
wonderland of nativity fun and entertainment for all, with an outdoor beach area, themed inflatable
and jumping castles, carnival rides, educational stalls and live musical performances.
The festival also features the “Soweto Has Talent” show, which is aimed at unearthing the
township’s hidden talent.
Some of the new features this year included Jozi@Work information booths to bring residents up to
speed with the City’s unique empowerment and job-creation initiative.
Accompanied by his wife Mrs Piliswe Twala-Tau, the Executive Mayor described the Soweto Festival of
Light, which started on December 15 and runs until Sunday December 21, as a “signature event”
during the festive season.
Reflecting on 2014, Mayor Tau said it was encouraging and refreshing to note that Johannesburg
residents were not the only ones who celebrated the City’s achievements.
“This year also saw the world begin to celebrate and notice our offerings and standing as a city,”
said the Mayor.
Mayor Tau said one of these achievements was the ranking by Good Magazine as the second most
inspiring city in the world, behind Hong Kong.
“We were also mentioned as the Most Visited City in Africa in the MasterCard Index. It is
heartening to note that 2014 didn’t see Johannesburg featured on a list of the most dangerous
cities on the world,” he said.
The Mayor also announced Johannesburg’s inclusion in the Rough Guide’s “cities to be visited” in
“This past year has seen us celebrated for our progress. Our greatest asset is our people, our warm
hospitality and our ubuntu. It is the people of this City who make Johannesburg what it is today.
We are being celebrated by the international world for what we do and for who we are. If 2014 was a
good year, then 2015 can only be better. It will be a year when we take Johannesburg to another
level – towards an inspiring future for all,” Mayor Tau.
Several dignitaries were present at the symbolic lighting. They included Section 79 Committees
Chairperson Councillor Zarina Motola, several ward councillors, Junior Mayor Innocent Marubini,
youth councillors, community leaders, and officials and management of municipal-owned entities.
Councillor Motola described the Soweto Festival of Light as a “game changer” as it altered
perceptions about Soweto.
“This festival is a symbolic extension of warmth and hospitality from the people of Soweto to all
visitors. It’s not a mere festival, it’s a festival that outlines the City‘s Growth and Development
Strategy 2040 (GDS 2040) by ensuring social inclusivity and enhanced quality of life for all. This
annual event benefits local charities caring for underprivileged children and the elderly and also
provides and encourages local tourism whilst boosting SMMEs,” said Councillor Motola.