Wits Vuvuzela journalist Pheladi Sethusa attended the Holi One festival in Johannesburg this weekend. She recounts the experience below.
‘Never in my life did I think I would have this much fun at an event that emanated from a religious practice.
I had seen the Hindu colour festival on TV before and knew I had to do it at least once in my life.
I dragged my feet on getting tickets, which did not serve me well when they were sold out a few weeks before the event.
Luckily for me I know someone who knows someone and managed to get a ticket the day before.
Within in the first five minutes of walking into the venue some over eager festival go-er decided to throw some colour on me robbing me of the before picture I wanted to take.
15 000 people had bought tickets and those same 15 000 were on the grounds of Emmarentia Dam.
I imagined it would be chaotic but it really wasn’t. There were enough bars, food stalls and toilets to cater to everyone’s needs.
There was also ample space for people to move around. I never felt uncomfortable in the crowds.
The highlight of the day for me, were the colour throws that happened every hour. Being in the crowd when they happened was the reason we were all there in the first place.
When you threw your colour up into the air it felt like a New Year’s countdown. Then it felt like you were in the midst of a dessert battlefield as all the colours came down and their residue hung in the air.
The music was great throughout the day. Various DJ’s made our bodies move to their sounds. Goodluck were the headline act and ushered us into the night beautifully.
They also announced that due to the support this festival had received, the band would be travelling to Germany for a Holi One festival later this year.
The festivities started at 11am and were due to end at 8pm. By the time 7pm came around, my feet and legs were done in for.
Towards the same time, none of us looked colourful anymore, just dirty.
It took me a full 40 minute shower to scrub myself clean and an additional 20 minutes to clean all the contents of my handbag. By which time I was exhausted from the day’s events.
I only began to understand the “we are one” title by the end of the day, when we all looked the same.
Even though we were all covered in a rainbow of colours, we all looked the same and indeed were the same.’