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Saturday, September 21, 2013


(Zulu dancers perform for a delighted King Zwelithini at last year’s Umgidi Welembe near King Shaka International Airport. Image by Thomas Khoza)

Zulu 200 in association with the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA), on behalf of His Majesty, King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, proudly presents Umgidi Welembe 2013. This cultural pageant will be held at King Shaka International Airport near Durban on Sunday (September 22), in anticipation of the Bicentenary of the Zulu Nation.

The year 2016 marks the 200th Anniversary of the formation of the Zulu Nation by King Shaka kaSenzangakhona. To highlight this momentous event, Zulu 200 - an initiative led by King Zwelithini - is once again staging a spectacular annual celebration at KwaZulu-Natal’s King Shaka International Airport, as part of the build-up to the grand-scale bicentennial celebrations which are due to climax in 2016.

Conceived and driven by CEO Mandla KaNozulu and Chairman Duma Ndlovu, the Zulu 200 initiative seeks to enhance awareness of the multi-faceted historic and cultural landscapes that comprise the legacy of the Zulu Kingdom and its people. It will see the production of literary, audio and film materials, to empower and inspire citizens of KZN through information, education and connectivity.

Following the launch of the project in 2011, and last year’s highly successful follow-up event, both of which took place at King Shaka International Airport, this year’s pageant, is supported by the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government, Ethekwini Municipality, Metro Rail and Ukhozi FM.

Reflecting the rich tapestry of history of the Zulu nation, this red-letter event on KZN’s cultural calendar will see thousands of traditional Zulu dancers, Izimbongi and musicians performing before a distinguished audience headed by the Zulu King, with the Premiere of KZN and many other front line national and provincial dignitaries in attendance.

King Zwelithini has extended a warm invitation to the people of KZN to come and enjoy this magnificent celebration.

Endorsing King Shaka International Airport as a living monument to its historic namesake as the founder of the Zulu Nation, the airport terminal façade and interiors will be dressed in celebratory branding for the royal occasion. The event is expected to draw a large crowd of invited guests and onlookers to enjoy the spectacular cultural display.

Adding a further dimension to the colourful festivities, a week-long exhibition of traditional Zulu art and craft will be on display on the airport site preceding and during the day-long celebration.

Proceedings on the day will start with a parade of Zulu dancers in full regalia, accompanied by the regiment of the Zulu Royal House. This will take place through the King Shaka Airport terminal building, leading to a designated area nearby, where performances will be presented from 10h00 to 17h00, following an opening address by King Zwelithini. The day’s programme will culminate with presentations, and performances by maskandi groups.

Admission is free and all are welcome.