My City of Gold #CastleLiteUnlocks experience
They don’t call it the ‘City of Gold’ for nothing. Due to its overabundance of gold minerals in the past, this is how the city of Johannesburg came to be known, a name which still reverberates across cities and nations around the world due to its fast-paced and rich lifestyle.
Rightfully so, everything that one touches in Egoli alias Jozi or Joburg – the largest city in South Africa in Gauteng Province (GP) – turns to Gold, as evidently witnessed by #BotswanUnplugged blogger, @madisafils.
Having been selected as part of the Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL) #CastleLiteUnlocks entourage that recently invaded Jozi for some refreshing musical experience featuring Travis Scott and Bryson Tyler at the Ticketpro Dome, our blogger got to indulge in the melting pots of Jozi gold from the moment he arrived on Wednesday night until he came back home on Friday afternoon.
The hustle and bustle of Joburg is real. Undoubtedly the largest city in South Africa and one of the 50 largest urban areas in the world, with a whooping population of more than 4 million people as per the 2011 population census, the vibe here is out of this world.
Below is his blow-by-blow account…
The #CastleliteUnlocks festival attracted a sold-out 20 000 revellers who came all out to fill up the Ticketpro Dome on Thursday night for some ice cold trap music. Some of the featured acts included Cassper Nyovest, Rick Ricki, A-Reece with the headliners being two of the elite trap music superstars and USA-born, Bryson Djuan Tiller and Travis Scott.
However, prior to the scintillating show on Thursday night, we had arrived at the Ticketpro Dome to have a feel of the empty venue on Wednesday night where artists’ rehearsals were taking place at around 10pm. The Jozi lights were a bit dazzling for some of us, but we were under the right care of our caretakers; KBL as soon we headed back to our hotel, Sandton Sun in the plush suburb of Sandton to check in.
We were truly treated like royalty. We were spoilt for choice and showered with various #Castlelite merchandise. From garments to refreshments, everything screamed Castle Lite. After several hours of swigging and imbibing on some ice cold Castle Lite tipples coupled with the nippy Joburg weather, I retired to bed just before midnight. Having seen the packed Thursday itinerary, I did myself justice by hitting forty winks on time.
Just like royals in any other occasion, Botswana was the last country of the 6 to arrive at the hotel after Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Swaziland. Our dominance was evident. Interestingly, Botswana also had a variety of personnel; from the media to Castle Lite ambassadors and fans alike.
The following morning as early as 6am I was already on floor 6 to grab some quick yet sumptuous breakfast to gain the much needed energy and strength for what appeared to be the busiest day of our Jozi tour.
Our hotel, Sandton Sun, adjacent to Nelson Mandela Square shopping mall gave us the much-needed lifeline.
On arrival in Joburg on Wednesday night, everyone was given a R300 credit card to indulge in some mini shopping. Ok, what can one do with R300 cash in Sandton besides some affordable snacks? In spite of everything else we went into the mall for some refreshing window shopping.
The R300 sustenance by KBL was for us to simply hold onto based on our hectic itinerary and it came in handy whenever one needed to grab a bite without necessarily having to go back to the hotel.
Getting into Mandela Square humbled me. I walked into all the shops which I yearn to shop in one day, and they were all situated next to each other. From your lavish #YoStagga Louis Vuitton to yet another over-the-top Gucci and Billionaires store, clearly I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Just getting into these stores, customers are treated like royalty; from the welcoming and bubbling glass of expensive champagne to the beaming smile, which is ready to devour your credit card, these shops are for millionaires. I remember at Billionaires, a dapper gentleman said to me, we are on special today, and we have shirts going for R7.5k.
Well, what can I do, I simply smiled and sauntered around the plush mall to kill time. Nonetheless, this is one of the most amazing malls in Johannesburg with a great sense of hospitality. As if everybody could clearly see into my wallet, I returned back to the hotel to take a comforting bath. After a few moments, I stepped out where I found an open bus awaiting us outside the hotel, which ferried us on a joyful drive downtown south of Johannesburg.
We were supposed to take a drive down to Soweto’s Vilakazi Street – the only street in the world with two Noble Peace recipients (Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu) but due to time limitations the organizers opted we check out Soccer City stadium- an iconic stadium that held the 2010 FIFA World Cup opening and closing games.
It was not my first time here. I have had the privilege of sitting inside the 94, 000 capacity stadia when KBL hosted me for the clash of the Soweto giants; Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates in 2016 during the Carling Black Label Cup. The beauty of this calabash-looking architect is the history in it. We stopped to take few pictures although it was from outside as there was no prior communication for us to go inside.
It was out of this place. First thing first. The event featuring international acts and with various people coming from all over the continent, security was very tight. I had never attended a music festival where a reveller gets tagged five times on one hand. These guys were thorough in their job.
The Ticketpro Dome was lit from start to finish. This was truly an unforgettable experience. People in Mzansi know how to host the media. They simply go all the way out. From time to time, we received a brief from our hosts which guided us to do our job fully and diligently. The revellers were amazing. Fact! Joburgers know how to party! What’s photography without all the amazing smiles and cheers from the fans?
The stage was torn up by the likes of Ricki Rick who opened up the show, followed by Cassper Nyovest and later, A-Reece. All these acts gave an undoubtedly thrilling performance. I have seen all of them perform before and in my home soil, Botswana, but their Jozi performance was amplified to the core. I was amazed that in between all acts and performances, there was not a single shout of “Are you there?”
Of course everybody was there, the 20, 000 Ticketpro Dome was bursting to the seams. Bryson Tiller tucked at several women’s hearts. He was simply alluring on stage! All the ladies were left mesmerized as they kept screaming and asking for more from Tiller’s musical palm.
As if it was not enough, the next international act, Travis Scott drove them even crazier. His energy was on steroids. It was during his performance that one fan jumped onto the stage, which rubbed security the wrong way. However, the issue was sorted within seconds.
I looked at my watch and it was already after midnight. After the fascinating show we headed to The Kong in Rosebank for yet another boogying at the after party. Fun was had! Thank you Jozi! Thank you #CastleLiteUnlocks.