The event transformed the city’s harbour precinct into a people-friendly environment. Highlights included tours of South African Navy vessels and TNPA marine craft, bus tours exploring areas that are restricted to the public, the Bayworld experiential area, Bocadillo’s pop up restaurant plus many food trucks and vendors, live entertainment by national and local artists, a spectacular laser show, shark displays and so much more. Although Saturday was windy, people arrived in their thousands followed by perfect weather on Sunday, with a stunt air display being one of the highlights against clear blue skies.
“Thank you to the Nelson Mandela Bay community for accepting our invitation. You have indeed arrived in your thousands to make this a hugely successful event, experiencing our unique port operations and our exciting people-centred vision. This event has brought our communities closer to our working port,” said Rajesh Dana, Port Manager.
“We are grateful that it was an incident free event and well supported over both days.”
“I would like to commend the traders and businesses for their support and for coming out to showcase their businesses, and the performers and artists who have chosen this platform to raise awareness of their talents while providing exceptional entertainment. We trust that this has been a successful weekend for all of you,” Dana concluded.
Themed “Centenary of Madiba” this year’s event had special significance for the people of Nelson Mandela Bay as it coincided with the Madiba’s Centenary. “For TNPA as host, this was an opportunity to reflect Madiba’s vision of a transformed SA – the rainbow nation. The festival provided an opportunity to entertain, to educate and to celebrate the amazing diversity of the Nelson Mandela Bay community. The event programme truly embraced the diversity of our different cultures, traditions and heritage, highlighting the potential of the Port of PE – not only as an important gateway for international trade, but also as a premium tourist destination. It provides a taste of what is to come once our Waterfront Development will become a reality,” said Shulami Qalinga, Chief Executive of TNPA.
“While this weekend’s festival was intended as a fun and enjoyable experience for all, it had a strong underlying strategic focus. TNPA uses this platform to bring communities from the surrounding areas into the port environment to show-case what happens in a working port. This is something we are not able to do more regularly due to the stringent operational and global security restrictions in the maritime industry. For one weekend, it was ‘open gates’ for all,” Qalinga concluded.
TNPA would not be able to do this without the support of our strategic partners: BLG Logistics, The Swartkops Terminal, Tide Marine Shipyard, Bidfreight Port Operations, FPT, Transnet Port Terminals and our sister port – the Port of Ngqura, the South African Navy, the South African Maritime Safety Association (SAMSA), Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism and the Nelson Mandela University.
Nationally, port festivals are part of TNPA’s efforts to transform the country’s commercial ports into “Smart People’s Ports” with a focus on community engagement, tourism, leisure, recreation and career and business opportunities. These were once regular events attracting thousands of visitors, until the advent of the ISPS code of safety for ports which since 2011 has placed limitations on public interaction with ports.