ile South Africa celebrated its rich history and the diverse cultures that make up the rainbow nation on National Heritage Day, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) hosted its 11th annual International Festival themed “UJ, we are the world” on Friday, 20 September 2013 to celebrate the various cultures, traditions and values that form part of the UJ community.
The festival, which is hosted by the Division of Internationalisation, is one of the biggest annual events on the UJ calendar. It highlights the significance of unity and communication on an international level for the advancement of academic excellence of the students. The festival proved to be of great magnitude, uniting students and staff that hail from different parts of the continent and the world. There were 25 countries such as Kenya, Lebanon and Greece, participating in this year’s festival and competing for a title in one of the four categories, namely: Cuisine, Stalls, Traditional wear and Performances.
At the sound of the drum, the festival kicked off with a drum performance by The Drum Café. It was then followed by a welcome address from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Internationalisation, Advancement and Student Affairs, Professor Tinyiko Maluleke, who welcomed and acknowledged everybody for coming to what he said to be the most important and colourful internal University event that should be embraced by the students.
UJ students and staff were dressed in their cultural attires, showcasing different cultures from various countries in what appeared to be a unique and colourful fashion show. Countries like Zimbabwe showcased a modern couture of doilies while South Africa walked the ramp with a display of traditional wear like the Sesotho attire known as seshoeshoe. The ladies from the Tsonga culture wore their colourful xibhelani while the females from Swaziland had on ilihiya.
Students and staff alike tasted a blend of different cuisine displayed in traditionally decorated stalls ranging from Fufu (yam mash) which is a favourite dish in Nigeria to Nkoumou Obergine and cassava leaves prone in Gabon and Rwanda. The participants also entertained with great performances of their traditional dances.
As the event drew to an close, the winners were announced. Rwanda and Burundi came in third place in three categories, namely: cuisine, stall and overall winner. First time participants, Somalia impressed the judges and came in first place in two categories, cuisine and stall and second place in the overall category. The overall winners for the year 2013 were South Korea with their show stopping performance of “hop am gangnam style”, which proved to be the ultimate favourite as they came in second place in the cuisine category and claimed first prize in the traditional wear, performance and overall winner for the year 2013.
“UJ, we are the world” proved to be a true reflection of the world’s many cultures.”