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Christmas in July – Fail


UPDATE – 31 July 2019

Thank you to Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens for acknowledging the scam perpetrated by the organisers of the Christmas in July/Enchanted Forest of Lights event. Your show of integrity and consideration for public wellbeing on this matter is appreciated. The press release is available here.

A further and similar thank you to Howler Ticketing Platform for agreeing to refund people in full for tickets purchased for both past and future events by the scammers. You too have shown your integrity, an ingredient critical to business success but sorely missing in South Africa.

Finally, thank you to everyone who took the time to voice their opinions and frustrations and demand justice. Social Media Activism is a force to be reckoned with. Every and every person has a voice and with that voice, the power to right a wrong, effect change and make a difference.


On Saturday, 29th July 2019, we attempted to attend an event, Christmas in July – Enchanted Garden of Lights at Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens.

Winter in Johannesburg is generally quiet a dull affair, everything is brown and dry and we tend to hibernate indoors behind the telly so this presented something new, different and interesting to do with the kids.

WHAT A DISASTER. We we stuck for over an hour in traffic just trying to make our way to the entrance and the GPS App (Waze) reported another 30 minutes of traffic ahead!!! I decided to cut my losses, turn around and head back home. Driving back home, we passed hundreds of families who were determined to overcome the odds and make a success of the evening.

So what exactly went wrong on this fateful evening? Scanning over the Facebook page for the event, the revelations made me sick to my stomach. My family and I spent over an hour in traffic because of bad event planning, which was further down to pure greed. The feedback from the good people of Mzanzi who endured that pain of the traffic is that at the entrance to the parking and the event itself, nobody had a clue of what was happening. The event was completely oversold and in addition to sitting in traffic, people had to queue for over an hour with pre-bought tickets just to get inside. 

But, it doesn’t end there. It turns out the Enchanted Garden of Lights was nothing more than a string of Christmas Lights wrapped around a few trees. Nothing close to the enchanted images used to advertise for the event, which on closer inspection, was probably sourced from some website internationally using a Google image search. Even more insidious though was that for all the people who rightfully aired their frustrations on the Facebook Event page, the page admin was deleting their posts and comments – covering it all up!!!

I was robbed this evening and so were many many good people who lost so much more than their money. I cannot stand by and allow these crooks to get away with this. 

Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens

Howler Ticketing Platform

Event Organisers 

You have wronged people. 

If your posts were deleted, please comment on this page and hopefully there will be a more permanent record of the frustrations that you had to endue. 


  1. I purchased 4 family tickets for the event on Saturday at 18:00. The picture displayed was in NO WAY ANY…

  2. Guys, I am trying to get a list of disgruntled people together. Hopefully we can get our money back, or…

  3. We went on Saturday night and as per everyone, it was an absolute joke!! It took us 2hrs with traffic…

  4. “Horror in July” We were so excited to go just to arrive there and be disappointed!!!! Could hardly see anything…

  5. I just bought 8 tickets for the 3rd for my baby girls 11th birthday. I did check the comments and…

  6. Total waste of time a money. False advertising using pictures for other companies pages. Wish these people would sue them…

  7. Complete waste of time and money. I hope these posts fund their way to the right people to cancel the…

  8. What a rip-off! After queuing for 90 minutes in the cold, when we got in it was jam packed. The…

  9. This was a complete RIP OFF and the entire event was a DISASTER.. Don’t know how they could actualy charge…

  10. Total waste of time and money! Ridiculous queues, in adequate parking, no officiates to direct the queues or to organise…

  11. Dear team, When I saw the advertisement of “Christmas in July” my expectations were as high as the pictures which…

  12. This was a huge epic fail, and to say a scam! False advertising, R250 for fairy lights And few big…

  13. We went to the event at the PTA Botanical Gardens, what a waste of time & money!! Soo disappointed. Just…

  14. Absolute scam and criminal theft of the public’s money. All persons affected should report this to arb.org and demand refunds!

  15. After reading all the negative reviews, we decided not to attend the event, even though we pre-purchased tickets (R400). Seems…

  16. What is disappointment! After sitting in traffic for over an hour, parking over an 1km away and having to walk…

  17. My 12 year olds comment ” we waited all this time to see a half lit hors ass and a…

  18. This was a scam, civil action should be taken against the organisers. There were barely any christmas lights, no snow,…

  19. Shocking shocking…. Bought our tickets 2months ago… Sat in the traffic for an hour… Waited in a que for another…

  20. What an absolutely dissapointing event suggestion. We were a group of 10 adults with 9 kids. Some of us managed…

  21. This was not an event it was and is a scam, a money making racket. It is false advertising as…

  22. The most disorganized event I have ever tried to attend. Took over an hour in the queue to try get…

  23. This was not an event, this was a scam. False advertising as it was not at all like the pictures…

  24. Have 2 very disappointed children this evening… the traffic to the event was horrendous… would have to park over 1km…

  25. Shocking experience and complete waste of money! Do not support this event . Con! Lights nothing like imagery or expectation.…

  26. Disappointment they made a killing tonight so many people; no activities for kids one jumping castle for a packed out…

  27. We were in a traffic queue from Doreen Rd from 5.15pm until 7pm and had just passed the Life hospital…


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