The Standard Bank Luju Food & Lifestyle Festival 2022 welcomed close to 7,000 well-dressed and enthusiastic guests for the biggest Luju festival to date, with two days of fantastic food, fashion and music programming over the past weekend.
Festivalgoers came from over 17 countries to enjoy the wide range of culinary, fashion, music, and lifestyle experiences at this sophisticated, wholesome and delicious family-friendly festival.
The Standard Bank Luju Food & Lifestyle Festival would like to thank all of its partners and sponsors, especially Standard Bank Eswatini, as well as Galp Eswatini, the United States Agency for International Development, Smirnoff Infusions, Stellar Artois, Pick n Pay, Rhodes Food Group, President, and Real Image Internet, as well as the many others involved in making this year’s festival an outstanding success.
Standard Bank and House On Fire are pleased to have supported small local businesses with 58 vendors participating and 19 partner activations at the festival, as well as the seven pre-event pop-up roadshows, which promoted health and well-being. A portion of each ticket sold will go towards the Standard Bank Luju Food & Lifestyle project to support rural beekeepers in Eswatini.
The exciting culinary programme, built around the Afro-Fusion theme, featured the Pick n Pay Luju Cook-Off competition and an informal and humorous cooking demonstration from special guest celebrity food enthusiast Somizi Mhlongo. Somizi prepared one of his favourite dishes using ingredients from the Pick n Pay Luju Pantry while sharing his love for cooking and his inspiration for his personal culinary style.
Within House On Fire’s iconic Amphitheatre, this demonstration was followed by the intense Pick n Pay Luju Cook Off with the two finalists, King Terry and Justina Bain, competing for E10,000, a permaculture course at Guba and other prizes aimed at uplifting contestants’ culinary enterprises. Temperatures rose in and out of the kitchen until the three judges, meat expert Clan Roberts from Pick n Pay, Delores Godfrey from Edladleni, and Cristina Reni from International Trade Centre/Alliances for Action announced their decision, with King Terry winning the title of Pick n Pay Luju Cook-Off Master Chef 2022.
Guests also enjoyed a bespoke menu prepared by Eric Malinga in collaboration with Malandela’s Restaurant at the Luju Long Table, with a menu that included a Gourmet Burger created with oyster mushrooms, teriyaki and white sauce stacked on top of a succulent Beef Patty mixed with Egg Plant, and the vegan-friendly Veggie Guru Bowl, containing black and white quinoa drizzled with a lemon-and-herb dressing served with butternut, oyster mushrooms and avocado.
The Luju fashion programme, highlighted by a fabulous fashion show at the GALP Energy Garden, was a massive hit with a range of Eswatini designers on display. The models showcased this year’s theme of HAIRvolution with special guest and hair artist Nikiwe Dlova from South Africa working with local hair stylists to create masterpieces of art from hair. One of these talented stylists, Siphesihle Tsabedze from Authentic Hair Salon in Mbabane, was inspired to create the hairstyle worn by the female Best-Dressed winner Zinhle Mkhari. The male Best-Dressed winner, Sthombisihle Dlamini, sported a stylish home-made bag made from upcycled plastics.
The Standard Bank Luju Food & Lifestyle Festival line-up showcased 30 acts, 20 of them from Eswatini, and a variety of forms of creative expression. Guests were treated to a show-stealing set from South Africa’s Ami Faku as well as a high-energy crowd pleaser from Friday night headliner Zakes Batwini, performing one of the last shows of his storied career. Lusophone Africa was well represented by Cape Verde’s Lura and Mozambique’s Radjha Ali, and happily supported by the large section of Portuguese speakers in the crowd. Among the many incredible acts who wowed the crowd were Eswatini’s Afro-Soul sensation Msimisi, Gcobani, and female rapper Oriiginelle, while Uncle Karly saw the show out in style!