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Aerial view of the city, Point and Royal Yacht Clubs and small craft harbour. Durban. KwaZulu Natal. South Africa. Aerial view of the city, Point and Royal Yacht Clubs and small craft harbour. Durban. KwaZulu Natal. South Africa. (AtlantaBlackStar) – After more than 20 years in New Orleans, the Essence Festival is now going global.

The festival has launched a three-year partnership with eThekwini Municipality to host the Essence Festival in Durban, South Africa, in 2016 and 2017, Essence Communications Inc. President Michelle Ebanks said Thursday.

Exact dates will be announced in a few weeks. Ebanks said in a telephone interview that it likely will be held “around this time next year.”

Ebanks noted Durban and New Orleans are longtime sister cities.

“We believe that this event will strengthen the Essence Festival and deepen our connection to our attendees,” she said, nixing any concerns that the expansion might negatively affect the New Orleans event. “There’s an African proverb that says you can go fast alone or far together. Reconnecting with our community on the African continent will allow us to go far together.”

Ebanks said a delegation from Durban attended the festival’s 20th anniversary in New Orleans. “There’s a great deal in common culturally between America and South Africa. We share a history of racial, economic and social prejudice and disparities. There are many parallels and we felt expanding to South Africa was a great connection.”

The Essence Festival Durban will follow the multi-day format of the New Orleans event, which draws more than 450,000 people annually over the July 4th holiday weekend and has an economic impact of more than $200 million locally.

Read more here.

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