Soweto Homemakers Expo
The first Soweto Homemakers Expo was held in 1983 as a joint venture between Adele Lucas Promotions and the Soweto Chamber of Commerce. It was the first time an event of this kind (or anything similar) was held in Soweto. If one looks at the time this event was held, it makes it even more unique, given the political situation in the country at the time. The Soweto Homemakers Expo, which obtained “legendary” status, was held for 3 consecutive years and was a phenomenal success for exhibitors, sponsors and visitors. The festival attracted 80 000 visitors each year.
The value of this exhibition was immense for Soweto, its people and especially its small and informal traders. The exhibition gave many small businesses the opportunity to exhibit their goods alongside industry leaders, as well as learn valuable lessons through skills transfer workshops and interaction with larger organizations.
Over R2 million was raised after 3 years, which lead to the construction of the Rockville Expo Centre and small business development programmes. The show developed real business opportunities for Soweto entrepreneurs, many of which today still have very successful businesses.
In addition the Expo was an outlet for community and cultural activities with a massive entertainment programme that included choirs, music, artists, ballroom dancing, photographic and art competitions. The entertainment programme involved more than 1000 artistes and launched the careers of many eg. Ladysmith Black Mambaso, Jaluka and Steve Kekana, to name a few.
Soweto Home Makers created and utilised local Soweto services where possible, involved schools in a variety of events and other project driven activities.
This highly acclaimed event returns to Soweto in 2005 as the ABSA Soweto Festival to highlight and celebrate 100 years of Soweto and to pave the way for a new era of business development and tourism in Soweto.