One of the world's biggest fighting games comes to South Africa
There was something incredibly special about being invited to host Red Bull Kumite 2023. Red Bull Kumite is one of the biggest Street Fighter esports events in the world and it came to South Africa for the first time! This was the first time South Africa was able to host a world final for an esports event of this prevalence. I was asked to be the host for this incredible show and it was such an honour to take part and be involved in the spectacle. Here’s a quick recap of the event.
It was a long few days of work in Pretoria. The best Street Fighter players from around the world flew in to South Africa to compete. The tournament started with a Last Chance Qualifier where a host of South African, African and foreign players were competing for the final spot in the competition. I stage hosted this spectacle as well and I got so emotional watching South African players I’ve known for years competing and showcasing their abilities on the world stage. The story of Sekwele was probably my favourite from the Last Chance Qualifiers and I actually wrote a piece for Red Bull about his rise to the top level and how important this player is for the local fighting games community.
The actual Grand Final was a spectacle. The stage was incredible and I do believe we put on an incredible show that not only showcased the Street Fighter players competing but also showcased the unique African flavour that comes with hosting an event in South Africa. I had some truly goosebump moments when our very own competitor JabhiM beat one of the favourites of the competition. I tried to put it all together in this reel, which shows some of the highlights of the day.
Algerian/Emirati player Adel “Big Bird” Anouche would eventually emerge as the 2023 Red Bull Kumite champion. The crowd was incredible and the support insane. While fighting games isn’t really my space when it comes to esports, I felt honoured to be able to play a role in creating the story around Kumite and showcasing my home country of South Africa to the rest of the world. I really hope we can have more opportunities such as these and ultimately be able to have more international representation visit our local shores. All in all it was a great event and I’m so grateful to Red Bull, the players and the production for letting me play a small role in taking part and creating the story.
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