Thousands attend Turkish Festival in Johannesburg


Date posted: October 22, 2013

Thousands of people have attended the fourth Turkish Culture and Food Festival at the Zoo Lake, a popular lake and public park in Johannesburg.

“I feel like am in Turkey today,” Janet Lerato, one of the festival attendees, told the Anadolu Agency.

The festival held on Saturday and Sunday, features Turkish folk dancing, performance by the famed Mehter band, calligraphy and famous cuisine.

“I love their rich culture especially the military band,” added Lerato.

The Mehter band excited many at the festival as it played traditional military songs.

For centuries, the Mehter Band performance had accompanied the marching Ottoman army into battle.

Lerato said the festival has inspired her, adding that she was already thinking about taking a holiday trip to Turkey.

Many Turkish companies exhibited their products at the festival, including the country’d flag-carrier air company Turkish Airlines, Turquoise Harmony Institute, the Horizon Educational Trust and the Fountain Educational Trust.

The annual gala’s organizing committee was headed by the South African-Turkish Business Association (SATBA) and supported by other organizations established by Turkish nationals in South Africa.

Students from Turkish-owned schools in South Africa performed Turkish folk dances to the amazement of the audience.

“I couldn’t imagine that black South African students can sing and dance like the Turkish people,” Rosemary Nomfundo, one the spectators, told the AA during the festival.

“This is so interesting.”

The family-friendly carnival offered facilities for children to play and ride on horses while the adults checked exhibitions by authentic Turkish artists, stage performers and food stalls.

There were long queues particularly at stands selling Turkish cuisine.

“This is the first time I taste Turkish food and it tastes so nice,” Omar Okocha, a Nigerian national living in South Africa, told the AA.

He said he stood for over 25 minutes in the queue just to buy and taste the shish Kebabs.

Serkan Ergul, the festival coordinator, said thousands of people have visited the festival until midday Sunday.

South Africa’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim and Deputy Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa are expected to attend the closing ceremony later this evening.

Source: World Bulletin , October 13, 2013


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