‘Celebrating Africa’s diversity as we fight corruption’

16Jan 2019
The Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
‘Celebrating Africa’s diversity as we fight corruption’

PREPARATIONS for the 16thedition of the Sauti za Busara festival have reached fever pitch as local revelers and international visitors prepare for another season of live music from across the African continent.

Artistes perform during the past Sauti za Busara festival in Zanzibar.

Busara Promotions, the non-governmental organization behind the event, has confirmed arrangements are in place for the highly acclaimed festival, which has been scheduled to start on February 7.

According to the festival director Yusuf Mahmoud the theme for this year’s edition targets to fight corruption because the organizers believe artists can use their voices to fight this vice as they celebrate the wealth and diversity of African music.

“In support of artists, who use music to advocate for peace, unity, human rights and freedom of expression, a strong message visible at this year’s festival is ‘Say No to Corruption’ (Potezea Rushwa, Sio Dili!),” he said.

“Corruption is a vice eating away at the moral fibre of our society, across Africa and beyond. Sadly, it has now reached a point where some people even accept it as normal. Though one festival cannot completely change society, we join hands with local and global partners to promote dialogue, change attitudes and encourage action for good governance,” the festival director said.

Some of artists who will support the anti-corruption message include Faith Mussa (Malawi), Fadhilee Itulya (Kenya), Fid Q (Tanzania), BCUC (South Africa) and others as they perform at the festival.

“These small steps will help lead, in the long run, lead to the change we all so much desire,” he said.

The festival manager Journey Ramadhan reiterated that as Sauti za Busara continues to promote Zanzibar and Tanzania across the world, the festival attracts many international promoters, providing the perfect platform for East African musicians to share their music with global audiences.

“The list, which looks so simple yet so rich in many attributes, features iconic sounds from Zanzibar and Tanzania, including groups that are geared towards showing the world the diversity of our home-grown music,” he said.

Advance tickets are selling well and the organisers say they are confident these will cover around 30 per cent of festival expenses.

However, despite its past successes, recent years were not easy due to a funding crisis that leaves Busara Promotions operating on a shoe-string budget and forcing them to seek donor support.

“The festival’s appeal continues to grow, although financial challenges still persist. There is little government support for the arts. The private sector has no concept of corporate social responsibility and fundraising gets tougher every year,” Mahmoud noted.

“At the same time in comparison with other festivals, we operate on a shoestring budget. Whilst keeping admission accessible for local people, ticket sales cover only 30 per cent of the costs,” he disclosed.

SautizaBusara’s main priority is to remain accessible and affordable for Tanzanians, so admission for local people is 10,000/- per day or 20,000/- for an All Festival four-day pass.

“Even people across town, who cannot afford to buy tickets, will have opportunities to enjoy live performances every day at a Free Stage in Forodhani Gardens, the Festival Roadshows, Busara Xtra events and the Carnival Parade, which has, in its own right, become one of Zanzibar’s most eagerly-anticipated events,” he added.


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