Wednesday, 30 January 2013


Sauti za Busara faces a drop in corporate sponsorship this year, its 10th anniversary, but vows to continue making each festival better than the last.

Because Sauti za Busara is run by Busara Productions, an NGO, funds gained from entrance to the festival and merchandise sales are non-profit. Busara hires and trains Zanzibaris for festival work with skills that will help them gain employment throughout the year. Busara remains firm in keeping the festival affordable for fans. Ticket prices for Tanzanian citizens remain at just 3,000/-TSH per day, a little under $2.00 USD.

The festival largely relies on corporate generosity to fund the festival. This year, donations fell short by nearly 30% of the expected budget. In spite of that, Sauti za Busara presses forward in order to provide an exciting and meaningful festival that focuses on quality not just quantity. Festival Director Yusuf Mahmoud says that the festival is not about money or how big it can get. Rather it’s about showcasing Tanzania and Zanzibar and giving a space for musicians to celebrate together and show the world that Africa is positive, Africa is peaceful, and Africa is rich in culture and humanity.

“A secret to our survival is that against all odds we remain focused on showcasing quality African music, whilst committed to building skills in the region and empowering local Tanzanians to deliver a quality festival, with world-class standards.” Mahmoud also recalls difficulties the festival faced in the past, twice Zanzibar had a total power blackout during the show, but the show went on, as it must, and was a success.

“I will never forget the first edition of Sauti za Busara in Forodhani Gardens in February 2004. The festival was poorly funded and the stage backdrop looked like a refugee camp. The artists line up however was amazing, with around 24 groups mostly from East Africa. From that day ten years ago we kept focus on showcasing quality African music,” says Mahmoud.

The festival takes place 14-17 February, 2013 and marks the 10th anniversary of Sauti za Busara. It will showcase 27 artists in the line-up, including; DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra, Peter Msechu, Culture Musical Club, Comrade Fatso and Chabvondoka, Super Maya Baikoko, Mokoomba, Owiny Sigoma Band and Cheikh Lô, among others. Tickets can be purchased online.