''Festival of India'' kicks off in South Africa

''Festival of India'' kicks off in South Africa

Monday, 27 June 2011, 10:38 Hrs
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Johannesburg: ''Festival of India, a two-month long extravaganza exploring Indian culture, has been launched here with a performance by fusion musician Abhijit Pohankar and local group Medumo.

The Festival is part of the South Africa-India Programme for Cultural Co-operation which the two countries were committed to during the SA-India Joint Ministerial Meeting which was held in India in March 2011.

"This festival celebrates the richness of our diversity and promotes people to people contact and social cohesion," said S''bu Xaba, Director-General of the Department of Arts and Culture in South Africa, during the launch in the presence of Indian High Commissioner Virendra Gupta here yesterday.

Stating that art and culture also contribute to growth and development, he added, "It creates jobs and passes on skills to young people and contributes to the wealth of a nation in a very significant way."
Xaba said his ministry would be hosting a Cultural Diplomacy Conference in November this year to discuss the power of culture as a tool of South Africa''s international relations.

"We are hoping that India will also share with us some of their experiences during that conference," Xaba added, as he hinted at the role that the Indian Council for Cultural Relations could play in this regard.

The festival will see performances by dancers and musicians from India as well as an exhibition of Bollywood posters across South Africa.

Gupta said the festival will enhance the bilateral relations between both the countries.

"Although cultural activities from India take place on a regular basis through private activity, this is the first time that an arts and culture festival is taking place on this magnitude," Gupta said.

Hoping that there would be progress in other areas also, he said, "Indian culture is very vast and very diverse.
We have very classical traditions; we have folk traditions; and of course more popular manifestations which derive from contemporary tradition and fusion."
Source: PTI
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