Here’s Tourism Tattler’s selection of amazing music and cultural festivals taking place in Africa during 2016 and should be in every cultural tourism itinerary for unique experiences.
Dithubaruba Cultural Festival
03 September 2016
Hosted by Molepolole’s Kgari Sechele Museum, this annual festival is commonly called Kwa-ga-Mmakgosi for its fun-filled days of diverse cultural festivities in music and dance, traditional Bakwena food varieties, attire and folk culture celebrations. The Dithubaruba cultural festival demonstrates the lifestyles and customs of the traditional cultures of the Bakwena nation and it is used to promote and appreciate the diverse cultural practices in Kweneng District while also accommodating other ethnic groups, such as South Africa, to also share their culture. The festival is characterised by different genres of music, the commonly known Setswana music dikhwaere takes centre stage. The Dithubaruba cultural festival is organised by the Botswana Tourism Board, the Botswana Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture, and the Kgosi Sechele Museum.
For more information visit www.botswanatourism.co.bw
20 January 2016
Timkat, which means baptism in Amharic, is the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church’s celebration of Epiphany*, which represents the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. The Timkat celebration in Gondar is considered the most colourful, vibrant festival of the year. While the Epiphany is celebrated all over the world, Timkat (also spelled Timket, or Timqat) is unique in its approach. On the eve of Timkat, the tabots, or sacred replicas of the Ark of the Covenant (containing the Ten Commandments), are wrapped in luxurious cloth and placed on the head of a priest to be carried out of the church in procession with the clergy. The pilgrimage ends just outside of the city at Fasilides’ Bath, whereupon a Divine Liturgy is celebrated around 2am. [*Editor’s Note: Epiphany celebrations vary. Eastern Orthodox Christians know the Epiphany as the baptism of Jesus Christ, whereas Western Christians celebrate the Epiphany as the recognition of the divinity of Christ by the Magi.]
For more information visit www.tourismethiopia.gov.et
The origins of the Festival International Madajazzcar dates back to October 1988, when a jazz club is created within the French Alliance of Tananarive (AFT), at the initiative of a trio of young jazz enthusiasts Malagasy doctors: Dr Allain Razakatiana Dr. Bruno and Dr. Henri Razafindrakoto Rakotondrabe. They were joined in 1989 by the late Dr. Hervé Razakaboana, who was also chairman of the jazz club AFT. The foundation of this jazz club AFT is the step that sealed the revival of jazz Malagasy, which already had decades of existence and creativity, contributing to one of Madagascar the first African country, with South Africa and Cameroon, to have a dynamic and talented musicians jazz scene.
For more information visit www.madajazzcar.mg
Festival Mawazine Rythmes Du Monde
20 – 28 May 2016
The Mawazine Festival Rhythms of the World is held over nine days of free music without borders. The 12th edition of a festival attracted 2.5 million viewers of all ages, who came to celebrate the world’s best artists and Morocco. The 2016 edition has an impressive line up of musicians already booked to perform.
For more information visit www.festivalmawazine.ma
Chizangala – Gule wamkulu
Also known as ‘the Great Dance’, Gule wamkulu is performed at the request of the village headman on the occasion of funerals of village members, puberty initiations, and the installation of chiefs and is part of the legacy of royal ritual inherited from the Chewa past. Gule wamkulu is today an essential feature of the Chewa countryside and has been recognized by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of Intangible Heritage.
For more information visit www.visitmalawi.mw
“Umoja” is a Swahili word which means “unity”, is the main theme of the festival. An artistic and cultural extravaganza that uniquely touches the spirit of the community, the Umoja Fest has historically been the most unifying celebration in the community, bringing people of all ethnic backgrounds together for a celebration of culture, education, social festivities and networking. Event highlights include the African Heritage Parade, Children’s Day, African Drum & Dance, Jazz, Soul, Reggae, Spoken Word & Poetry, Hip-Hop Fest, Basketball Tournament, Fitness Demonstrations, Gospel Fest, Voter Registration, Vendor Marketplace & Community Resource Fair.
For more information visit www.visitmozambique.net
SAKIFO Music Festival
3 – 5 June 2016
The 12th edition of the SAKIFO music festival takes place on the site of the White St Pierre Ravine in Reunion. Since 2004, SAKIFO has provided music fans with everything they want, hence the name Sakifo, which means “enough” in the Reunion Creole language.
For more information visit www.sakifo.com
25 April – 01 May 2016
AfrikaBurn is the spectacular result of the creative expression of participants who gather once a year in the Tankwa Karoo region of the Western Cape, to create a temporary city of art, theme camps, costume, music and performance. AfrikaBurn’s aim is to be radically inclusive and accessible to anyone. The touchstone of value in this festival culture will always be immediacy: experience before theory, moral relationships before politics, survival before services, roles before jobs, ritual before symbolism, work before vested interest, participant support before sponsorship. Nothing is for sale but ice at the event. Nothing. There are no vendors, no advertising or branding. It just doesn’t fit in. It’s not even a barter economy – it’s a decommodified zone with a gift economy that’s about giving without expecting anything in return.
For more information visit www.afrikaburn.com/the-event/afrikaburn-2016
07-09 August 2016
Founded in 1994, Oppikoppi (derived from the Afrikaans “op die koppie” or “on the hill”) is South Africa’s single largest music festival with attendance topping 20,000 revellers. The inaugural event primarily featured South African rock ‘n’ roll bands, and has since expanded to include a myriad of genres including hip hop, jazz, EDM, metal, soul, and kwaito – a purely South African spin on house music, remixing tribal rhythms to create the beats for inimitably danceable songs.
For more information visit www.oppikoppi.co.za
Carnaval International de Victoria
22 – 24 April 2016
The 7th edition of the Seychelles International Carnival of Victoria will once again become a focal point for representatives from the world’s most famous carnivals who have been invited to the islands to take part in this exciting international event. The focus of international as well as local attention, the Seychelles International Carnival of Victoria features a procession of colourful floats representing the various participants’ national carnivals, as well as a raft of other dedicated activities, all of which fall under the carnival’s theme.
For more information visit www.seychelles.travel
The Marula festival, known locally as ‘Emaganwini’, begins when the fruit is harvested by women and children in February. The ripe fruit is used to make Marula beer, the traditional toast of the festival. The royal family is the first to sample the brew and only after they take the first drink is the rest of the nation permitted to drink and celebrations begin. The largest single celebration is held at the royal residence of Ebuhleni, where the royal family join the nation in traditional song and dance.
For more information visit www.thekingdomofswaziland.com</strong>
Bayimba International Festival
Kampala comes alive as a vibrant and eventful city when an unparalleled feast of music, dance, theatre, film, and visual arts from renowned and upcoming artists are staged for 9th edition of the Bayimba International Festival of the Arts.
For more information visit www.bayimba.org
Sauti za Busara Festival
9 – 12 February 2017
Dubbed as ‘the Friendliest Festival on the Planet’ the 13th edition of Sauti za Busara for 2016 has been cancelled after 13 years due to a shortage of funding. The organisers, Busara Promotions are urgently seeking partnerships with the public and private sectors to build a secure and sustainable future for the festival.
For more information visit www.busaramusic.org
Harare International Festival of the Arts
April – May 2016
HIFA is a 6-day annual festival and workshop programme that showcases the very best of local, regional and international arts and culture in a comprehensive festival programme of theatre, dance, music, circus, street performance, spoken word, visual arts. HIFA has come to be seen as an important symbol of something positive about Zimbabwe, unifying socially and culturally disparate groups of Zimbabweans at a time of ideological conflict and political uncertainty bringing huge audiences together to celebrate something positive – the healing and constructive capacity of the arts.
For more information visit www.hifa.co.zw
Want to add an African festival to this list? Pop an email to email@example.com