It’s the most wonderful time of the year and as the year winds down, many of us take a step back to both reflect on the year that has passed and to spend quality time with family and friends.
From opening presents under the tree to enjoying a scrumptious feast, everyone has their own way of celebrating Christmas in South Africa. With just a few days to go until the big day, we asked some of Mzansi’s celebrities to share what they have planned for the festive season and some of their special holiday traditions.
How celebs are marking festive season in South Africa
Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp, Jacaranda FM radio personality
Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp’s travelling family spent their time between Johannesburg and Cape Town, so the festive season is a time when everyone comes together and takes a much-needed breather.
“For us, any reason to jump on an airplane or to see our parents or see our family is a very festive occasion and usually one with a lot of gratitude, charity and giving gifts. We don’t leave festive and gratitude to the festive season and it’s something we do throughout the year,” Elana shares.
The Jacaranda FM personality adds that the festive season comes with a whole bunch of traditions. “On the 22nd of December, we invite close friends over where I make the turkey and some of my friends, who are professional chefs, bring some dishes and we enjoy lunch on the veranda. Around the 23rd we have a picnic for the kids, on the 24th we visit a farm we love and on Christmas morning, we exchange gifts with our ouma and oupas. My parents go to church in the morning, we make music around the piano after that and we always have a festive tea at our house every Christmas afternoon.”
Zakes Bantwini, Grammy-nominated singer and producer
For Osama hitmaker Zakes Bantwini, the festive season is his busiest of the year. Although the star does make sure to spend time with his family on Christmas, he often spends this time of year travelling across South Africa and connecting with his fans at shows.
“My team and I will be on the road for most of this season at various shows – including Ballito BIG Week where I will be performing my homecoming show on 1 January 2023! Those who would like to know where to find me can have a look on my Instagram for a gig guide,” Zakes says. “When it comes to Christmas, however, I like to spend it with my family, my wife Nandi and my kids, either just at home or while getting up to a fun holiday activity.”
Kriya Gangiah, television and radio personality.
Christmas is a pretty big deal at Kriya Gangiah’s household. Around mid-November, Kriya unboxes her many festive decorations and big Christmas tree and completely transforms her home. “For us, Christmas time is about the family. It’s a time to forget about the stresses of the year and spend some time with loved ones,” Kriya says adding that she often uses this time to reflect. As for how she’s planning on spending Christmas, “this year is we’re doing a traditional South African Christmas braai with the family at home,” the F1 Track This podcast host shares.
Carol Ofori, author and radio personality
For Carol Ofori, Christmas is a time to enjoy with family – and she plans on doing just that this year. “This is the first Christmas in years we are celebrating without lockdown, so I am super excited! My family is coming to visit and it’s going to be a beautiful one,” Carol shares.
“I am cooking Christmas lunch and I am going to make a whole array of delicious meals from scratch! If this was Come Dine With Me, I would totally be winning because everything will be made from scratch. I am praying for good weather in Durban because it hasn’t been great for the past couple of years and we love to spend the day outside by the pool with good people and good food, opening up presents. I love spending time with my kids and extended family and enjoying the love and remembering that Christ was born on this day.”
Claire Johnston, lead singer of Mango Groove
The festive season is one centred around both work and play for Mango Groove’s Claire Johnston. The Special Star hitmaker has been booked for a number of shows around the country this summer and will be bringing in New Year’s Eve at Ballito BIG Week on 31 December. However, she does make sure that she and the rest of Mango Groove spend some quality time with their loved ones over the festive period in South Africa. “Most of the band will be with our families or close friends catching our collective breath before a crazy end of the year with back-to-back gigs,” Claire shares.
Jethro Tait, musician
This year, local pop sensation Jethro Tait is prioritising his relationship with his girlfriend and spending Christmas in Johannesburg. “Being from Cape Town, I usually go down to spend the festive season with my family. This year, I’ve decided to stay in Johannesburg and spend the holidays with my girlfriend,” Jethro shares. “We have only ever spent one Christmas together so I’m looking forward to making some festive season memories with her.”
Jethro adds that he has some exciting things planned. “I am excited to be doing the little things like baking Christmas cookies and watching cheesy Christmas movies before the craziness of 2023 starts.”