South Africans got a taste of Korean culture at the 2019 Korean Film and Food Festival held in Pretoria on October 19. From delicious food, film, arts, and crafts, and live performances, there was something for everyone at the festival. SHAAZIA EBRAHIM and FATIMA MOOSA were there.
The food market sold delicious Korean foods
Attendees at the festival had a number of different activities to occupy themselves with. At the entrance of the event was the busy food market. A variety of Korean street foods was available for purchase. But there was also Instagram-worthy Korean beauty products on sale, and K-pop merch which had fans in a frenzy. The market was buzzing throughout the day as people bought what was on offer.
Decorating Korean fans, trying on hanboks, and other activities
If trying Korean food wasn’t exciting enough, there were a number of activities to participate in. For fans of Korean dramas, there was an opportunity to live out a dream of being a king and queen from the historical dramas. Attendees were also given the chance to try their hand at making Korean flags and fans.
Fans treated crowds to K-pop performances
After the food market, the biggest crowds were gathered around the performance tent. K-pop fans were treated to dance and singing performances from their favourite acts. The 2018 and 2019 regional winners of the Changwon K-pop Festival also took to the stage to perform a song by K-pop star Taemin.
K-pop is coming to SA
Speaking to The Daily Vox during some of the live performances, the Korean ambassador to South Africa, Dr Jongdae Park said he was very happy to see so many people attend the event. “You can see with wide-ranging people from all backgrounds, you have parents coming with babies… I’m very encouraged to see that the fan group is growing every time. [These events] are becoming very popular and it’s very encouraging,” Park said.
Park said as a diplomat, he feels very fortunate to have Korean culture appealing so strongly to many countries, especially the country he is serving. “It’s good because the attraction of Korean culture allows you to be interested in many other things besides culture: language, food, history. It’s a very good way to promote a larger scope of cooperation. We are very fortunate and we are in the process of addressing the demand more and more,” he said
Park told The Daily Vox that K-pop fans don’t have to worry if we’ll ever see a K-pop act in South Africa. It’s not a question of ‘if’, “it’s just a matter of when,” he said. “[The support for events like this] sends a very positive message to our people, our artists and we know that South Africa is a huge country in terms of K-pop fans,” Park said.
“I’m pretty sure in the near future we’ll have K-pop groups coming,” the ambassador said.