SA's major events cancelled by Covid-19, others postponed

16 March 2020 - 10:41 By Unathi Nkanjeni
SA's major events have been cancelled or postponed until further notice.
SA's major events have been cancelled or postponed until further notice.
Image: Masi Losi

In the wake of President Cyril Ramaphosa's ban on social gatherings of more than 100 people to curb the spread of Covid-19, many of SA's major events have been cancelled or postponed. 

“Gatherings of more than 100 people will be prohibited. Mass celebrations of upcoming national days, such as Human Rights Day, and other large government events will be cancelled.

“Where small gatherings are unavoidable, organisers will need to put in place stringent measures of prevention and control,” he said.

What is cancelled?

MTN Bushfire 

The Eswatini MTN Bushfire Festival, which was due to take place from May 29 to 31, has been cancelled.

MTN Bushfire, government stakeholders, its partners and sponsors said the 14th edition of the festival will take place next year, from May 28-30.

“As a socially conscious and conscientious festival, we prioritise the health, safety and security of the Eswatini community, the festival staff and guests. We believe this is the responsible decision to make in recognition of these extraordinary circumstances,” said the organisers.

Tickets and camping passes already purchased will be valid for the 2021 festival and refunds will be given to those who cannot make it next year.

Afrika Burn

Afrika Burn has also been cancelled. 

The event organisers issued a statement expressing their “heartbreak” at the cancellation. The festival was set to take place from April 27-May 3. Organisers said no refunds will be issued at this time.

They said only love could break your heart, so it was with “total heartbreak we are confirming that the event we all love so much is cancelled this year”.

“We have had to make this difficult decision out of duty of care to our global community at this time, before the many crews working on projects invest any further funds, resources and love in this year’s events,” the organisers said.

Human Rights Festival

Constitution Hill cancelled the annual Human Rights Festival.

TimesLIVE reported that the festival was to be held in Johannesburg on March 27, with the theme highlighting the role of young people in social movements, their commitment to global human rights and their determination to bring change in the world.

“It is with regret, therefore, that we have decided to postpone this year’s festival."

Two Ocean's Marathon

All Two Oceans Marathon events have been cancelled. The 51st running of the event was due to take place from April 8, with the main event on April 11.


“We have been monitoring the status of the novel coronavirus pandemic as events have unfolded internationally and locally, and we’ve consulted public health experts and authorities,” said race director Debra Barnes.

“The health and safety of the competitors, staff, sponsors and the global community are paramount and an event of this scale poses far too great a risk to continue," said a statement from the organisers.

What is postponed? 

Large gatherings that have already been postponed include The Cape Town International Jazz Festival, Jewish Literary Festival, Volkswagen SA's VIVOnation and the Heineken F1 Joburg Festival.