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Essence Festival Preps For Return To South Africa

Essence Festival makes its way back to Durban for 2017.

Fresh off the annual Essence Festival held over the Fourth of July holiday weekend in New Orleans, organizers are now preparing for the festival's return to South Africa.

Essence on Thursday (July 6) said the festival's Durban, South Africa, edition will take place Sept. 26-Oct. 1, featuring Bishop T.D. Jakes, a talk-show host, entrepreneur and best-selling author based in Dallas. Essence magazine's editor-in-chief, Vanessa De Luca, says they'll release the rest of the lineup later.

"We're not ready to reveal the rest of the lineup but we'll be making more announcements in the future," De Luca said.

Just like the New Orleans festival, Essence Festival Durban will bring together international performers and speakers to entertain and inspire, as well as a host of local artists and experts. The event is comprised of nightly music concerts and a daily Empowerment Experience, offering workshops and seminars across various sectors, including development of women and youth in business.

De Luca said they are thrilled to be returning to South Africa for the second time.

"I think Durban has so much to offer," she said. "It is a beach destination and the vacation spot for the rest of South Africa. And, there's such a mix of global cultures. It's a nice melting pot."

Mayor Cllr Zandile Gumede said the city is looking forward to this year's festival.

"Last year was an overwhelming success and the festival has played a vital part in the women empowerment programs and in showcasing our local arts and fashion sector," she said. "Durban is being discovered by global travelers looking for new and different cultural experiences combined with the excitement of nature and historical significance."

Last year's inaugural Durban Festival drew more than 10,000 attendees and featured appearances by Steve Harvey, Phaedra Parks and singers Estelle, Kelly Price, Ne-Yo, Wizkid, Black Coffee and more.

New Orleans' 23rd annual event drew more than 470,000 attendees.

This article was originally published on Billboard.

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