Our History


Fiesta Latina began in 2012.

Everything started when I received a skype call from my father in October 2011. At the time my father was in our hometown, a port town called Callao, in Lima, Peru.

My dad excitedly told me about the great time the family had, at the annual Kermess (Festival) organized by the Maristas high school, of which I am an alumni. He showed me pictures and videos of the event...a colorful, fun event celebrating our rich Peruvian culture. In excitement,  I called my wife Zana, to have a look too. These images brought back many beautiful memories about my childhood. It was at this very same festival where I performed over the years, and also watched many dance performances, salsa concerts and enjoyed so many delicious dishes from my homeland. I grew up amongst this proud heritage, which came so naturally to everyone. Nostalgia set in. And so did a deep sense of “something missing”.

That evening I felt quiet sad.  Zana questioned my melancholy mood, and I simply replied,

"I just realized that I had such a beautiful childhood in my hometown, but I took for granted my culture and traditions. Now that I am in another country, I realise what I am missing, and how much I am missing it.”

I was particularly upset at the thought that someday, when we began a family, our child will not experience the beauty of my culture, the music, food, traditional dances and language. It would not know what it meant to be truly Peruvian, or truly Latino. This would only fully be possible if we moved to Peru and lived there.  We thought of all our Latin American friends living here in South Africa, many of whom have little children. These parents, and parents to be, are in the same boat – trying to raise kids in a new country, whilst holding on to their roots. In some cases, the children are so immersed in a new identity that they could barely speak Spanish. 

We realised we need to do something about it, not only for our own future child, but for the hundreds of children in the Latin American Community in South Africa, for the elderly people who are unable to frequently travel to South America, and who miss their homelands terribly, and for those who simply want to rejoice in their traditions and hold their flags high, even if its only for a day.

This is how everything started… "Let’s do a Latino get together" we said. “But not just any get together, let’s celebrate Latin culture.”

The following months were crucial. Zana and I researched relentlessly about food suppliers and Latino performers, and learnt almost immediately that SA was lacking enough content and suppliers within the community to put an event together. We were determined that this should not stop us. In fact, it fueled us, because we realised how necessary this now was. Enlisting the help of a few friends, we pulled out all the stops to even make some of the food ourselves, whilst friends from Chile, Argentina and Peru offered to dance. I could use my talent as an MC, singer and dancer, and Zana would bring in her events management expertise. This is how the first Fiesta Latina Festival JOBURG 2012 was born.

The first event had just over 100 RSPVs amongst friends and family, but we didn't imagine in our wildest dreams that on the day, more than 300 people would show up! We ran out of everything, food and drinks! But people still stayed from early in the day, until well into the night! It was the most exciting day in the whole year for the community. At that very first event people asked… “When is the next one?”….” You need to do another one!”. The next week, numerous emails were received, in which people expressed their appreciation. Some messages touched our hearts deeply, whilst others pledged support. We knew in that instant how important and needed this event is – to bring alive our culture, to share our traditions and heritage, to feel that pride, to connect with others, and to give that gift to all the precious children in the Latino community.

Today, Fiesta Latina SA has grown to include:

• An entrepreneurship platform whereby we offer a free business coaching service to people from the community
• It is a platform to showcase talent in the community.
• It is a social cohesion endeavour to share Latin culture with non-Latinos, to build bridges and create mutual understanding, respect and tolerance.
• It is an education platform to teach others about who we are, and what being Latino means.
• It is platform to network and connect.
• It is a platform to celebrate our food, and lifestyle – from Mexico to Argentina and everywhere in between.
• It has become the annual meeting point of Latinos in Africa, with people driving across borders, from as far afield as Botswana and Mozambique to attend. Most importantly, it retains the same ethos with which it was founded: For the love and benefit of our communities children.

Below are some pictures of our first, very humble, Fiesta Latina in 2012.

Cesar  Alvarado
MD Adrelatin Entertainment & Co-Founder of Fiesta Latina SA


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