South Africa: Angolan ambassador opens steam train festival 2017

Ficksburg – Angolan ambassador to South Africa, Josefina Pitra Diakite, opened the Stars of Sandstone Steam and Heritage Festival, in South Africa’s Free State province’s Ficksburg town on Saturday.

The opening ceremony also marked the unveiling of one of the seven steam train locomotives that belonged to the former Angolan Bengo province-based sugar plantations “Tentativa de Caxito” and “Bom Jesus”, taken to South Africa in 2003 by a team of researchers headed by the relic steam strain collector, South African Wilfred Mole.

During the presentation of the restored locomotive to the more than 400 tourists attending the event, the project’s manager, Michael Myers, said the machine, dating back to 1905, was grounded since 1969 and at the time of its location it was in a state of abandonment.

The process of repair of the train started in 2011 and is currently part of the tourist relics of the Sandstone Estate which, in addition to steam trains, hosts a about 500 machines and engines of the XIX and XX centuries, including airplanes, cars and military vehicles.

The collection of engines from Angola includes a 1899 locomotive taken from central Benguela province’s Dombe Grande sugar plantation.

The festival that will end on 9 April this year has Angola as its main participating country and is expected to receive more than 5,000 tourists, with Angolan and South African flags flying side by side.

The Angolan ambassador on the occasion thanked for the invitation and opportunity and highlighted the importance of a strengthened cooperation and cultural exchange between the two countries.

Source: Angola Press News Agency