MELINA MELETAKOS

“Five, four, three, two, one,” scream thousands of people in unison before throwing vibrantly coloured powder into the air at the same time. For a moment, a smoky cloud of intense blue, purple, yellow, green and pink lingers over them until the next countdown, every hour on the hour.

The We Are One Colour Festival is on its way to Johannesburg, after making a stop in Cape Town a few weeks ago.

After the Cape Town event, the festival rebranded itself from the “Holi One Colour Festival” to the “We Are One Colour Festival”. This, the festival organisers say, is an effort to carve their own identity that is separate from the original Indian Holi celebration which the festival originated from.

Holi is a spring festival of colours celebrated by Hindus. It originally commemorated good harvests and fertile land, but has now turned into a farewell to winter and a welcoming of spring’s abounding colours.

The organisers have made it clear that We Are One is not linked to any of the religious aspects of the original festival. It does, however, aim to share the same values of bringing people together in love and peace. It’s an expression of freedom and the colour of everyday life.

If that’s all a bit airy fairy for your liking and you only want to enjoy getting guiltlessly dirty for a day, Perdeby brings you all the essential details to ensure that you are well prepared for We Are One.

Emmarentia Dam in Johannesburg will host the festival on 6 April. Gates open at noon and the first mass of powder will be unleashed at 13:00 with DJs Kid Fonque, Richard The Third, Sadnu Sensi and Toby2shoes providing the soundtrack to the mayhem.

Things you’re not allowed to bring? Firstly, your own powder. This is to ensure that all the powder is environmentally friendly, allergy-free, non-toxic and water-soluble. Having said that, some material may stain, so rather go buy some cheap white clothes that you don’t intend wearing again.

Secondly, don’t bring your own alcohol. There will be refreshments on sale at the event, as well as some grub to line your stomach throughout the day.

Lastly, if you have allergies or asthma, or you wear contact lenses, you’re advised to wear mouth or eye protection. These will be available for sale at the event.

After the hype around Cape Town’s festival, which attracted some 10 000 people, tickets for the Johannesburg event sold out within days. If you’re lucky enough to have secured one, good for you. You can relax until April. If you didn’t, Perdeby suggests you start scouring Gumtree or see our competition below – we might have a few tickets saved up for you. You’re welcome.

Photos: Stu Shapiro

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