InvoTech Client Set To Bring KZN Alive

Durban University of Technology

Tuesday, 3 July, 2012 - 10

Umgubho Festival, the recently launched annual festival seeking to promote indigenous knowledge systems and cultural heritage by infusing it with sports is more than just about fun and festivities.

Sibusiso Mlambo, the man who fathered the idea says the festival, organised by his company Maphisa Brothers in partnership with the eThekwini Municipality is “African Renaissance in action”.

Mlambo is one of many InvoTech clients. InvoTech is a Durban University of Technology business incubator which is supported by the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda).

Mlambo says Umgubho Festival aims to improve the participation of black people in predominantly white sports, create jobs for the youth, further reposition Durban and KwaZulu-Natal as Africa’s playground as well as to bring tourism to the people. While this vision was born many years ago, it has now turned into a business.

Born at Amatata, eNdwedwe, Mlambo’s journey as a businessman is that of humble beginnings. He matriculated at Phambili High School before going to Unisa to study Law. He however quickly branched off to Business Administration at the Business Studies Unit (BSU) at the Durban University of Technology. Mlambo also did Project Management at DUT.

“The project started in 1990, as a stokvel kind of business. In 1991 we had our first major event, which was a Valentine’s Day deep sea cruise with 50 people on board. It was a great success”, says Mlambo.

Between 1994 and 1996, Mlambo was part of the committee that crafted the National Arts and Culture Policy. Between 1998 and 2001, he was also part of the committee that crafted section 185-186 of the South African Constitution that resulted in the formation of the Commission for Community Rights of Cultures, Language and Beliefs.

He says the approach on the Festival was based on these two policies. “I saw an opportunity through these two policies. Umgubho Festival was identified to preserve and promote indigenous knowledge systems and to create a sporting festival that further promotes KZN as the Zulu Kingdom”, said Mlambo.

Mlambo’s journey has not always been smooth sailing. After his idea was hit an obstacle with potential investors, he pitched it to the National Rugby Union which then took it to Parliament in 2003. “Parliament endorsed the project with recommendations that I must include ingredients that would identify with the people of South Africa in terms of demographics. The South African Football Association (SAFA) was the first to endorse the idea once the name of the festival was changed to what it is today. Golf, Cycling and Canoeing federations also endorsed it. We then had to identify the host city; we wanted it to come to Durban. Eventually, Durban was chosen as the host city. The then SA Sports Commission endorsed it with recommendation that the festival be launched post 2010” said Mlambo.

Maphisa Brothers is owned by Mlambo and is 100% BEE compliant. Mlambo said InvoTech has played a major role in making this project a reality.” We faced with high levels of resistance from investors and sponsors especially with new projects. DUT has offered its infrastructure, mentorship, innovation to make this project a reality. The other stakeholders that have engaged in this project to make it a reality are COGTA, the Office of the KZN Premier, eThekwini Municipality, KZN sports federations and the media,” said Mlambo.

Youth Day (June 16) saw a “dry run” of the Festival at the Inanda Dam. The KZN Cycling Union committed to sponsoring 25 bicycles for each of the 10 wards for community development.

“This will also be a catalyst for job creation as people will be needed for administration, coaching and mechanics. Maphisa Brothers will also form a Maphisa Academy for these sporting disciplines so that every year on 16 June, there are activities and more that are held,” said Mlambo.

The main Festival will be held on September 22 2012. Activities will be broken into relays of athletics, cycling and canoeing along Inanda Heritage Route taking tourism to tribal areas (Qadi, Maphephetheni and KwaNgcolosi) surrounding Inanda Dam. There will also be a December festival aimed at redirecting people out of the city centre where they tend to flock around this time. For this particular Festival, eThekwini will collaborate with its sister cities. 

Sports Shoes | Gifts for Runners