The Latin American sun shone on Emmarentia last weekend as Fiesta Latina, South Africa’s sixth annual Latino food, culture and music festival at Marks Park brought colourful food, fun and dance to Joburg.
From authentic tacos al pastor with traditional handmade corn tortillas, burritos, nachos, and quesadillas to Joburg’s 10 piece salsa band, En Fuego, with New York Style salsa and Latin jazz, there was something for everyone.
The children got in on the fun with a traditional Mexican star piñata and were also able to pet alpacas indigenous to the Andes.
Zana Alvarado, who coordinated the event with her husband and Peruvian César, said it is a showcase of everything that is Latin.
“South Africa has more than 55 000 Latin American people that live here. Many are born in Latin American and the first Latinos arrived in 1974.
“This festival showcases all of the traditions, cultures and cuisine, from countries like Ecuador, Peru, Argentina and Mexico.”
Zana also said that the day is a celebration of heritage, which is why the festival is held in September every month.
It is important, she said, that Latin children who now live in South Africa are exposed to their culture and can see what it is all about.
“We had a fantastic turnout, and people loved the food and the music,” Zana said.
Zana and César founded the event six years ago because they wanted to educate their child about Latino heritage.
The first festival was catered to no more than 50 people. But 300 showed up and the event has only grown each year.
“We were surprised to find that there were many other Latina families around us. We felt the need to take on the responsibility to start this day.”
To find out more or if you want to make sure you don’t miss the festival next year, follow Fiesta Latina SA on Facebook or visit www.fiestalatina.co.za