The fifth annual Soweto camp festival kicked off yesterday at Lebo’s Backpackers in Soweto and will run right through the Easter Weekend until Monday, April 6.

Situated in the heart of Orlando West at the corner Pooe & Ramushu streets, the festival offers young and old people the chance to camp outdoors for the weekend. People can bring their own tent to the festival or opt to pay for the special package which gets you and a friend access and a free tent that you get to keep for life.

“We want to awaken a camping consciousness, particularly because it is something that is unusual among the Soweto community,” said organiser Lebo Malepa.

Live music bands and local dj’s will provide a variety of entertainment for day visitors and campers.  While early morning bicycle tours around Soweto are being offered for free to campers to the nearby Hector Peterson museum and famous Vilikazi street. Board games are available for all to indulge while hammocks provided will be ideal for those who just love to laze around.

Stoves and camp fires are set up at the venue and people are encouraged to bring food that they can cook in the spirit of camping. A gear list for the event includes; linen, utensils, a camp chair, a torch and a cooler bag according to camp maestro Malepa.

Through this event the organisers want to not only school people on camping, but to also to encourage local tourism as well as entrepreneurship among young people.

“The festival is an open space for networking and dialogue with campers from near and far,” said Malepa.

The festival has been organised in conjunction with Ghetto Mentality Entertainmen, the Gauteng Tourism Authority and Johannesburg Tourism.

“We are calling entrepreneurs to come and use the space to meet potential clients and partners and to have open dialogue on how we can move forward as a country as the number of people attending is growing every year,” Malepa said.

Organisers have employed young men and women from the community to do various things like helping to set up tents, and provide security and car guarding.