In a dazzling display of enthusiasm and unity, the Vaal River Carnival (VRC) 2023 Media Launch set the stage for a spectacular return to the Vaal after a three-year hiatus. Held at the prestigious Emerald Casino and Lodge Resort, the event was a glitzy affair, attended by the who’s who of the Vaal entertainment scene, as well as prominent figures from the Emfuleni Local Municipality.
The carnival, a three-month-long celebration, aims to showcase the very best the Vaal has to offer in terms of tourism, leisure, hospitality, and economic opportunities. Under the banner of “Back With A Bang,” VRC 2023 promises a diverse range of events, including music festivals, beauty pageants, arts exhibitions, and more.
The highlight of the evening was the presence of Emfuleni Local Municipality’s Executive Mayor, Cllr Sipho Radebe, who graced the event with his presence. The charismatic and lively Semakaleng Moeketsi directed the program, adding an extra layer of vibrancy to the gathering.
However, one pressing question lingered in the minds of attendees – why does an event as iconic as the Vaal River Carnival still lack a head sponsor after more than two decades? Every year, the absence of a solid sponsor leads to disputes among service providers, including entertainers, venue owners, and promoters, over the financing of the festivity.
Compounding the issue is the fact that Emfuleni Local Municipality has been rated as one of South Africa’s worst-performing municipalities due to financial mismanagement. This troubling aspect casts a shadow over VRC 2023, as the community questions the appropriateness of hosting such a lavish event while basic services like adequate water supply, electricity, refuse removal, and road maintenance remain unaddressed.
“Though we are under fire as a municipality, it is necessary to revive ourselves through arts and creativity. VRC 2023 is not meant to wash away our problems, but let’s use it to stimulate ourselves as we prepare to fight for the betterment of our municipality.”
Mayor also urged all Emfuleni Local Municipality employees to support the events by purchasing tickets and led by example, vowing to personally buy a ticket, setting a precedent for community engagement.
VRC 2023 may be shorter than its predecessors, spanning only a month, but it promises a jam-packed calendar of events. Highlights include the Vaal Pride, celebrating the LGBTQI community, the growing Rand Water Vaal River City Marathon, the spiritually uplifting Clap and Tap Festival, and the iconic All White Soul Session, organized by Masia Sound Productions.
In the face of adversity, VRC 2023 stands as a testament to the resilience and creativity of the Vaal community. It beckons us to come together, celebrate our culture, and support our artists and creative industries. Despite the challenges, this year’s carnival offers a glimmer of hope and a chance to collectively build a brighter future for the Vaal.