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Cont’s carnival grows yearly


Arts guru Cont Mhlanga, the organiser of the Pupu Shangane Carnival in Lupane, was impressed by this year’s edition and says they are already preparing for a redefined edition in 2020.

The Pupu Shangane Carnival was held last week on Saturday at the EMdwadweni Sipopoma site in Lupane, Matabeleland North.

The fête is meant to celebrate cultural diversity, the arts and oneness and, most importantly, to commemorate King Lobengula’s crossing of the Tshangane River for his battle against the Allan Wilson patrol in 1893.

The event was headlined by a walk, music, dance, paintings, poetry and art stalls, where locals sold different crafts.

Mhlanga is looking into making the fête more of a tourism event that will attract patrons from around the region rather than just a local carnival.

“We want to grow the event regionally. This year we had a number of people coming down from South Africa and we want more regional participation, which will grow the festival into a regional tourism event not just a fly-by-Lupane event, hence we are moving around in Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania and other countries to see how we can involve them,” he said.

This year’s edition saw the addition of another discipline, the Carnival Walk, from Tshangane River to the Allan Wilson memorial shrine.

The walk — themed Samwela uTshangane saguqa ngamadolo — was a celebration of cultural diversity of the people of the world and participants were dressed in cultural costumes from different tribes celebrating ubuntu.

The walk was in two parts, the first saw at least 30 people walking from Tshangane River to Pupu Memorial Site and back to Tshangane River, which is a distance of 15km. The second part saw people walking from Tshangane River to Esihlahleni seNkosi uLobengula and back to Tshangane River, which are 30km apart.

The event started in the morning from Pupu Tshangane Carnival Park and finished at Tshangane River eSipopoma, the exact point where King Lobengula crossed the river in 1893 with over 25 000 people, including women and children.

On the sidelines of the carnival, Mhlanga revealed that next year they would add more activities like beach volleyball and soccer at the river.

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