It may be among the most underrated provinces in SA, but the Eastern Cape undeniably possesses impeccable talent.
This was reiterated recently in Dubai, where Eastern Cape talent took centrestage during the Dubai International Expo 2020.
From music to fashion and TV, some of the province’s stars shone brightly to market SA to the world as a hub of excellent talent across various disciplines.
During the One Night with Mzansi showcase, the world witnessed Gqeberha songstress Ami Faku effortlessly serenade guests and Mzansi Magic viewers while decked out in Maxhosa by Laduma Ngxokolo, another Gqeberha shining star.
The creatives were flown to the UAE by MultiChoice to showcase some of the best talent SA has to offer.
In the bigger scheme of things, Faku said she felt her role was not only to give the world a glimpse of SA, but also her hometown and her native language, isiXhosa, on an international scale.
“At the beginning of my career, I never thought such opportunities would happen because in the work we do, you just never know.
“I just wanted to show the world the beauty in our culture, in the way we do things, the way we deliver musically and just the uniqueness of our art,” she said.
Faku and her backup dancers were dressed in world-renowned Maxhosa by Laduma attire during their performance.
“I specifically opted to wear Maxhosa because [Ngxokolo] is from my hometown and we are both from the same tribe, so it just made sense for me to wear his luxury brand.
“While on stage I was really just happy to be representing my people on such a platform,” she said.
Originally inspired by the Xhosa cultural initiation of boys to manhood, Maxhosa is celebrated globally as a luxury brand designed to showcase the beauty, culture, language and aspiration of the Xhosa people.
Further known for its landscapes, vast coastline and rolling hills, a glimpse of the Eastern Cape was also showcased during a viewing of the anticipated Showmax original series, Blood Psalms, filmed in parts of the province.
Eastern Cape locations include Hole in The Wall in Coffee Bay, Gwadana and the Valley of Desolation in Graaff-Reinet.
Written and directed by Eastern Cape filmmaker Jahmil Qubeka, Blood Psalms is an African mythology series set 11,000 years ago and seen through the eyes of a fierce teenage African princess who battles a world-ending prophecy to navigate her people through complexities, politics and endless wars.
Qubeka said he hoped the viewing would help bring focus to the ever-evolving face of African cinema and usher in an inevitable film and television boom.
“We received an awesome response to the trailer and snippets shown,” he said.
“t seems there is a genuine buzz around the project and that warms my heart going into February’s premiere on Showmax.”
More of the province’s thespians, including Zolisa Xaluva, Zikhona Sodlaka, Bongile Mantsai and Hlubi Mboya, can be seen in the series when it premieres on February.
At their core, One Night with Mzansi and the Content Showcase were curated to encourage global investment in the post-pandemic economic recovery of SA.
Scores of SA TV and music stakeholders travelled to Dubai to represent SA at the expo.
By ZAMANDULO MALONDE