Tribute to Mpondo Culture and Heritage 2020

By Dr Nomvuyo N. Nokwe, Secretary General of IORA

21 September 2020

COVID-19 has negatively impacted global travel and brought the world to an abrupt standstill. For the first time in history, close to 90% of the world’s population is now in countries with travel restrictions. Airlines, travel companies and the tourism sector as a whole are among the most affected businesses.

Photo: Ms Verena Gauthier, CEO of Impulse NGO from Basseland, Switzerland and Dr Nomvuyo Nokwe, Secretary General of IORA, during the Mpondo Culture and Heritage Festival 2018 at Lwandlolubomvu Great Place, Ntabankulu, Mpondo Kingdom

The UN Secretary-General stressed, “It is imperative that we rebuild the tourism sector.” He went on to say in order for it to “regain its position as a provider of decent jobs, stable incomes and the protection of our cultural and natural heritage.” tourism’s role is one of the most important economic sectors, providing livelihoods to hundreds of millions of people while “boosting economies and enabling countries to thrive.

The Mpondo Culture and Heritage Festival is one of the biggest cultural festivals in the Eastern Cape province and attracts over 20 000 people. I take pride that in 2018 I witnessed that. What I like is the bringing together of other cultural groups of South Africa as well as international participants. Therefore one is able to enjoy the diversity, bringing respect between the cultural groups and thereby building and promoting diversity.

It is during these difficult times of the Covid-19 pandemic that we are facing here at home in South Africa and in the larger world that is associated with fighting the pandemic. It should however strengthen us to remain hopeful, united, optimistic and positive as we prepare for the day when we will reconnect locally and globally. It seems the South African government is beginning to ease the lockdown and is encouraging domestic travel and tourism. Therefore it is important to prepare for the new normal which requires a comprehensive sector reopening strategy aimed towards building trust and credibility among potential tourists.

2018 for the Nokwe Family was  special as it brought  great honour to have been in attendance in person to witness and to receive the prestigious King Faku Sigcau Bravery Award on behalf of our late Father Advocate Duma Nokwe.

We thus remain encouraged that the Mpondo Festival will be going virtual in the new normal post Covid19, using new innovative ways to generate the required revenues for the local communities.

I can only wish the very best to the Mpondo Culture and Heritage organisers, Lwandlolubomvu authorities and the other stakeholders during this challenging period as you navigate in the new unchartered terrain.