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Unlocking Umkhanyakude's economic potential through cultural tourism

2024-03-28 10:55:10

"KwaZulu-Natal 's rich heritage is a powerful catalyst for cultural tourism, which unlocks economic development. By showcasing our vibrant culture, we can unlock opportunities for growth and prosperity," said Khanyisani Shandu, Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN) Interim Board Chairperson.

He was speaking at a gala dinner on the eve of the 14th UMthayi Marula Festival, organized by TIKZN as mandated by the Department of Economic Development, Tourism, and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA), in partnership with the UMhlosinga Development Agency.  A keynote address on behalf of EDTEA MEC Siboniso Duma, was delivered by MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development Super Zuma.

In his welcome address, Shandu highlighted, "UMthayi stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of Amathonga as they come together to celebrate the inaugural harvest of the indigenous Marula fruit. Beyond its cultural significance, this festival, hosted by the Inkosi uTembe and his Royal Council, with support from the provincial government, serves as a catalyst for tourism promotion, economic development, and community empowerment within this northernmost part of the province."

The event aimed to harness the strategic potential of UMthayi as a platform for fostering meaningful business engagements and knowledge exchange. Through collaborative partnerships, TIKZN endeavored to showcase the diverse investment and trade opportunities inherent within the uMkhanyakude District, some of which were mentioned by Mayor Siphile Mdaka. This is crucial as the district is strategically located bordering eSwatini and Mozambique, which bodes well for exploring avenues for cross-border economic collaboration and exchange alignment with the strategic developmental focus of our province.

"With this evening's proceedings, we hope to facilitate constructive engagements on avenues for accelerating the socio-economic development of this region. Together, let us seize the opportunities afforded by the UMthayi to foster economic prosperity, forge enduring partnerships, and chart a path towards a brighter future for uMkhanyakude and beyond," concluded Shandu.

The occasion was graced by the presence of members of the Tembe Royal Family and representatives of businesses in Mozambique and Eswatini.
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