SPEECH BY THE MEC FOR LIMPOPO DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT,
ENVIRONMENT AND TOURISM, MR. RODGERS MONAMA DURING THE MEDIA
LAUNCH OF THE 17TH EDITION OF LIMPOPO MARULA FESTIVAL HELD AT MEROPA
CASINO, POLOKWANE

SPEECH BY THE MEC FOR LIMPOPO DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT,
ENVIRONMENT AND TOURISM, MR. RODGERS MONAMA DURING THE MEDIA
LAUNCH OF THE 17TH EDITION OF LIMPOPO MARULA FESTIVAL HELD AT MEROPA
CASINO, POLOKWANE
My colleague, MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture, Ms. Nakedi Kekana
Members of the Portfolio Committee of LEDET present,
Executive Mayor of Polokwane Municipality, Cllr. Makoro John Mpe
Other Mayors and Councillors present
Chairperson of LTA Board, Mr. Andrew Dipela, and members of the Board
present
Acting HOD of the Department, Mr. Matodzi Rathumbu
CEO of LTA, Mr. Moses Ngobeni and your Executives
Government Officials across the Board present
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen
Seventeen years ago, this department, LEDET, made a purposeful
economic intervention by developing the Limpopo Mukumbi Industries as
a viable business industry in the province, taking advantage of the vast
concentration of Marula trees found mostly in the sub-tropical parts of our
province especially around Mopani District.
A company registration was facilitated through the former LIMDEV, now
the Limpopo Economic Development Agency (LEDA) on behalf of
communities that participate in the Marula industry.
LEDET MEC MR RODGERS MONAMA’S SPEAKING NOTES-MARULA FESTIVAL LAUNCH 2023 2
This massive cultural showpiece’s intention is to celebrate the culture and
traditions around the uses of the Morula tree. Traditionally the morula tree
has a myriad of uses and has been a revered tree for eons.
This gigantic tree has for many years been used for among others,
gatherings for community gatherings in ancient times and to date. We
have been told that decisions taken from such gatherings under this tree
had milestone achievements compared to others. I was also told that
couples that proposed each other under this tree would never separate.
There are so many positive stories about this tree, which shows how
anointed this tree is, with its fruit having a plethora of benefits to all of us
too.
The intended Marula Festival is a combination of activities that normally
span over two weeks but this year, the 17th edition of the Marula Festival
will only be over one weekend. The project comprises several activities
that cover the municipal area of Mopani.
The different aspects of the festival as highlighted above will be used to
showcase the tourist offering of the Mopani District and largely destination
Limpopo. The Mukumbi industry cooperatives will also brew Morula beer
for the enjoyment of the event patrons.
The Mukumbi industry cooperatives are an initiative of LEDET to facilitate
the beneficiation of morula products and related aspects. To date there
are over 14 cooperatives formed to live the pay-offline of this festival that
says, “Discover the greatness in Marula”
The proximity of the town to the Kruger National Park is a cherry on top of
the mix as this continues to boost tourism in our province. This, we are
confident will enhance the economy of Ba-Phalaborwa Municipality and
LEDET MEC MR RODGERS MONAMA’S SPEAKING NOTES-MARULA FESTIVAL LAUNCH 2023 3
the surrounding municipalities as the small mining town of Phalaborwa
was on the downward trajectory due to sluggish growth of mining.
The involvement of the local municipality has always been a benefit to the
event as it provides most of the public venues, traffic control and other
municipal services.
I know my predecessors had already started a process of moving the
festival to another venue outside town. I will need to explore this idea
further and engage other relevant stakeholders for us to take an informed
decision on the matter.
The 17th annual instalment of the Marula Festival for 2023 will this year
take place from 12 to 22 April 2023 at Impala Park Stadium. In order to
cater for the diverse needs of our target market, the following venues will
be utilized for the festival activities:
Event/Activity
I. Tasting of the First Fruit-Go Loma Morula/Ku Lima Nguva03&04/03/2023
II. LMF Cultural Carnival: Wildevy Park – 14/04/2023
III. Marula Youth Dance Movement-15/04/2023
IV. Limpopo Marula SMME Exhibition: 19-23/03/2023
V. Limpopo Marula Tourism Career Expo LTCE -07-10/03/2023
VI. Fun Fair – 12-23/04/2023
VII. Flea Market -19-22/04/2023
VIII. Limpopo Marula Welcome Dinner: 21/04/2023
IX. Marula Comedy Night-21/04/2023
X. LMF Golf Event: 22/04/2023
XI. Open Air Concert – 22/04/2023
LEDET MEC MR RODGERS MONAMA’S SPEAKING NOTES-MARULA FESTIVAL LAUNCH 2023 4
Ladies and gentlemen, The Limpopo Mukumbi Industries (Pty) Ltd has
been the official supplier of the home brewed Morula/Mukumbi/Vukanyi
beverage annually for a number of years. The ladies you see here
displaying this original African drink, come from some of these Mukumbi
Industries I just alluded to.
The involvement of these registered cooperatives had positive spin-offs
on investment into the industry and on the employment of rural community
members who assist with harvesting and transportation of the fruit
annually depending on the orders from the organizers of the Marula
Festival.
We were just taken aback a few years ago by the relocation of Distel, a
distillery company that produced the now world acclaimed beverage,
Amarula. Amarula Lapa during its time, created a number of opportunities
and the company would also buy tons of Marula fruit from some of the
cooperatives and individuals and the closure of the company was a blow
not only to these people but to the entire province.
The decision by Limpopo Government to make Phalaborwa a permanent
home of Limpopo Marula Festival was the step in the right direction given
the town’s tourism profile and proximity to other major tourist destinations,
including the world-renowned Kruger National Park incorporated within
the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park.
It is easily packaged with products around Hoedspruit, Tzaneen,
Modjadjieskloof and Giyani benefiting from the festivities as overflow
venues in respect of accommodation. This location and setting are
reasons for Limpopo Marula Festival to become a major attraction for
locals, domestic, as well as international tourists. We expect a lot of
LEDET MEC MR RODGERS MONAMA’S SPEAKING NOTES-MARULA FESTIVAL LAUNCH 2023 5
international guests during this edition of the festival especially now that
we have successfully moved out of COVID-19 pandemic.
We wish to thank SANParks for the construction of an activity hub to break
new ground to inspire locals living close to Phalaborwa gate to make it
their everyday activity to bolster the economy in Phalaborwa and the
province.
Ladies and Gentlemen, members of the media
Marula festival draws lots of people from different backgrounds to
Phalaborwa and adjacent communities, and as such helps us in building
social cohesion in our province. This because people of different it brings
people together for the sole purpose of celebration and happiness across
colour and cultural lines. It is special event to celebrate our diversity as
the province in terms of traditions and heritage.
To us as the Department, we value Marula Festival as one of our key
building blocks in our economic development initiative. It is our incredible
and often undervalued driver of economic development of our artists,
whom to us we value as SMME’s in their own right. It is through this
festival that we provide a platform for our artists to connect with their fans
so that they take advantage of the opportunity to observe what their fans
like and don’t like. Marula also provides artists with a platform for
networking and exposure, where artists can have a chance to get their
music heard or loved by whole lot new audiences.
The economic spin offs from the festival far more outclasses the risks as
Marula has over the years become a source of income for SMME’s who
get profit in a short period of time through offering their products to large
numbers of visitors and revellers.
LEDET MEC MR RODGERS MONAMA’S SPEAKING NOTES-MARULA FESTIVAL LAUNCH 2023 6
We know that Marula Festival faithfuls attach a lot of nostalgic value to the
festival. Even those fans who are not die-hard fans but have perhaps
attended one or two Marula Festivals have a special memory of this
spectacular festival. As the stage is set for one of the most loved festivals
in our province, we invite you to get your dancing shoes ready as we
release the adrenalin rush to the highest level. Let us make Marula
Festival a great way to escape the humdrum of everyday life and focus on
music and other forms of the creative art.

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