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7 Of The Best African Music Festivals

Sal International Music Festival 2019 in Cape Verde
Written by See Africa Today

Music in Africa is a symbol of culture. It is the social fibre that binds people to their cultures through music festivals.

For decades, there have been different music festivals in different parts of Africa, each celebrating norms and traditions they believe in. In East Africa, West Africa, North Africa and Southern Africa; there are festivals that appreciate the good of the continent through music.

These are the most popular music festivals across the land.

Mawazine in Morocco


Mawazine Festival in Morocco. [Photo: Friendly Morocco]

In May every year, music rocks Rabat city in Morocco in celebrating the very dynamic Moroccan culture. Usually, big international artists grace the event as well as local artists who promote their cultures and celebrate Moroccan art.

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In the past Mwazine festival, RnB sensation Maroon 5, Usher, Christina Aguilera, Rod Stewart, Justin Timberlake have graced the stage. The like of Nigeria’s P Square and African icons – Amadou, Mariam and Tinariwen – have been part of it all. This festival dates back centuries ago and hosts crowds of 2.65 million people every year when it is held.

Sauti za Busara in Tanzania

A four-day African musical affair, Sauti za Busara Festival (Sounds of wisdom ) in Zanzibar promises you yet another riveting experience in celebration of African music in 2020 the Zanzibari style!

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“Sauti Za Busara” translates to “sounds of wisdom” in English. It is a music festival with an African theme and is held in Zanzibar every year for four days. Sauti Za Busara has a special home in the historic Old Fort or Ngome Kongwe as it is popularly known in Swahili.

Soweto International Jazz Festival in South Africa

The best reggae performance in Africa, Soweto International Jazz Festival

Jazz Now, Edinburgh International Festival Trio Red + the Kevin MacKenzie Trio in performance – BBC

The Soweto International Jazz Festival is an annual three-day international music and arts festival held in Soweto, South Africa with its purpose being celebrating Johannesburg together with its rich cultural nature, most of it embedded in music and arts. The jazz festival this year will be held at the GOG Lifestyle Venue, Soweto Gardens

Besides music and arts, which have over the years defined Soweto International Jazz Festival, 2019’s celebration will spotlight Johannesburg’s cuisine, luxury accommodation, adventure and exploration of South Africa’s most coveted city. Soweto Theatre Complex – one of the state-of-the-art facilities in Soweto – will host indoor and outdoor spaces, workshops, vendors, artists, food and VIP events.

Nyege Nyege Festival in Uganda

Uploaded ToUnmasking the Uganda’s Nyege Nyege Festival

MTN Nyege Nyege Festival’s Lineup is a Smorgasbord of International and African Talent – Everfest

For the last five years, Uganda’s Nyege Nyege festival has sent tongues wagging due to the explicit nature of the festival. The four-day festival was first held in 2015.

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It is an emblem of peace, respect and entertainment for East Africans and the larger African content. The name “Nyege Nyege” speaks of a group of Kampala-based art incubator which encompasses a community-based music studio, a record label and a firm which manages artistes from Uganda. The festival gives a chance for musicians through the record label to exhibit their creativity in the production of music.

Sal International Music Festival in Cape Verde

Sal International Music Festival 2019 in Cape Verde

A whistle-stop tour of Cape Verde’s festivals [Photo by Cape Verde Holidays]

Heard of Cape Verde before? Cape Verde is a relatively small West African country made up of 10 islands with an archipelago that has a Western Europe and West African touch.

The pristine beaches around the country and the unique environment that sees mercury remain at a minimum of 25 degrees Celsius have made it famous and a top tourist destination. Of more appeal is the series of musical fetes held throughout the year in different months. The carnival is also known as Santa Maria Festival/Municipality Day. It features a string of live musical performances from locals. The secret in the music played at the festival is the amazing fusion of tunes and different styles which influences the masses.

Felabration Festival in Nigeria

What you should know about Nigeria’s Felabration festival

The Felabration festival in Lagos – Freedom Park

In October every year, Nigeria’s capital, Lagos plays host to thousands of visitors from different parts of the world for the Felabration music festival. Felabration is a music festival held annually at the New Afrika Shrine in Ikeja, Lagos. It showcases culture and art for the Nigerian people and the week-long festival is now a leading tourist attraction for Lagos.

The festival is held in commemoration of the country’s musical legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti who is described as the ‘father of afrobeat’. Yeni Anikulapo, Fela’s daughter, first organized the festival in 1998 to celebrate her father who, besides doing music, was also a human rights activist.

The festival is characterized by musical performances by artists from Nigeria and other renowned musicians from other parts of the world. It is then preceded by street parades, debates on topical issues such as governance, democracy, social issues and are climaxed by a photo exhibition.

Malipenga Dance Festival in Malawi

For the people of Malawi which was branded as the ‘warm heart of Africa’ for its good climate and hospitality, the Malipenga Dance Festival is a culture they have worked so hard to preserve over the years.

The Malipenga Dance season, held throughout is religiously observed by the people from the northern part of Malawi; Koronga, Rumphi and NKhatabay areas who celebrate the end of a harvesting season and their rich Tonga culture.

Malawi’s Malipenga Dance Festival to honour ancestors

Women dancing at the Malipenga dance festival – VISIT MALAWI

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About the author

See Africa Today

Pharis Kinyua is the editor of See Africa Today. With over seven years of experience in digital media, he has a soft spot for African tours and travel. His drive is to tell the rest of the world what Africa offers, the best accommodation facilities, national parks, culture, shopping malls and best airline deals to travel to Africa

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