Over 4,700 people enjoyed a feast of the senses at Standard Bank Luju Food and Lifestyle Festival in the beautiful kingdom of eSwatini.

Unlike any other event in the region, Luju was a true African celebration, described by NuSoul Hub Radio this way, “The inaugural Standard Bank Luju Food and Lifestyle Festival was a delightful sensory and delectable experience with a feast of lavish music and finest food. The festival attracted thousands of music, food and fashion enthusiasts from all walks of life and different ages with a majority of them adhering to the African Vintage theme. It was indeed a blissful and well-coordinated event with a stunning setup complimenting the lawns of House on Fire Sculpture Garden and the endless cane fields and rolling hills. Every person was in a jovial mood and why wouldn’t you be, as there were countless forms of entertainment (salsa, wheel chair basketball, bike riding, wine tasting just to mention a few), a number of stalls, fully stocked bar and the amazing food garden to fill one’s insatiable desire.”

Food activations from the much-loved J’Something were a huge hit, with J’Something having this to say of his Luju experience across the food and music stages, “ eSwatini showed me and my band so much love. I enjoyed every minute of Standard Bank Luju Food & Lifestyle Festival … really world class!”

A large Swazi contingent was represented in the trader space and the Food Garden and Design Café, and were part of the amazing diversity on display. The Design Café featured vintage fashion, contemporary and mid-century photography and art.

Some of the tastes on offer included Ethiopian cuisine, African regional dishes, Sushi, and of course the braai and local traditional foods. Pete Goffe-Woods braai activation in partnership with Big Game Parks was also a major attraction. Big Game Parks appreciated the opportunity of being involved at LUJU with a Masterchef SA judge and renowned chef. The relationship with Pete will continue through training iniatives, new and exciting additions to their menu.
This collaboration with Pete has driven them to include new and improved dishes to their menu. The BGP team was especially impressed with his take on well known dishes by adding simple ingredients.

Guests also enjoyed a range of craft gin, vodka and beer, as well as some amazing South African wines. Eighteen13 Boutique Wine Shop was on site with South Africa’s first Black female winemaker, Ntsiki Biyela, who in 2009 was named as South Africa’s Woman Winemaker of the Year and who had this to say of the event, “The Festival was amazing, definitely an authentic representation of African lifestyle. It is a must attend festival, the experience was worth the journey and beyond.”

The part atmosphere went on long into the evening with amazing performances from MiCasa, Albert Frost, and the Rebirth of Cool amongst others. But it was a powerful performance from Thandiswa Maswai that had many people talking. Her words of support for women and her moving tribute to Winnie Mandela brought had the entire audience quietly spellbound.

Exceeding the expectations of the organisers, the Luju Food and Lifestyle festival’s debut event has secured its place on the region’s events calendar