Food, music and culture at Ongala festival

Thursday August 18 2022
Ongala Festival

Performers at the recent 4th edition of the Ongala Festival in Dar es Salaam. The event attracted thousands of fans. PHOTO | FILE | NMG


Dar es Salaam residents recently came out to celebrate a local music legend at the fourth edition of the Ongala Music Festival in honour of the late Remmy Ongala.

For three nights from August 5 to 7, music lovers danced, ate and mingled at the live music event, entertained by more than 20 music bands and solo artistes at the Silver Sands Hotel at Kunduchi Beach, Dar es Salaam.

This year’s line-up was from Afro-fusion guitarist, Shabo Amosi Makota, Ambasa Mandela, East Africa’s traditional singer, fused with Afro beat, Jazz and a dash of Reggae, Singeli star Sholo Mwamba, Siti Muharam, Swahili Ally, Taji Mbaraka, Tofa Jaxx, Man Kifimbo, to the Bongo Beat band led by Tom Ongala, the son of Remmy Ongala and many others.

Featured a number of music bands, DJ sets, workshops, drumming sessions, and dance sessions perfectly set just a few inches away from the waves of the Indian Ocean.

There was a blend of traditional music, Bongo Flava, Hip Hop, Taarabu from Siti and her band with culture and the spirit of Africa.

Started in 2018, the Ongala Music Festival has morphed into a three-day live music event celebrating Africa’s history, music and its people.


This year’s theme Mziki ni Tiba Swahili for ‘’music heals’’ was run as an extended outdoor event, offering on-site camping and hotel accommodation for international and local festival goers.

Revellers also enjoyed local delicacies from Nyama Choma to Bongo’s famous Chipsi mayai. There were also exhibitions for local artisans.

Ongala Festival

Performers at the recent 4th edition of the Ongala Festival in Dar es Salaam. The event has evolved into a three-day of fun, music and culture celebrating Africa. PHOTO | FILE | NMG

Ongala Music Fest has sold itself as a platform that brings together musicians of different genres and generations across the continent and beyond to feed off each other’s experiences and influence. It specifically promotes and showcases local talents from across Tanzania including from the island of Zanzibar.

Remmy Ongala was a global musician, and Tanzania’s champion of the urban marginalised working class through his music and the way he chose to live his life. The festival is built in the spirit of Ongala's tenet of empowering, nurturing and supporting emerging and renowned artistes across Africa.

“He was a father to many and his inspiration was to develop the fusion of different art forms and musical styles,” said Aziza Ongala, the daughter of the late Ongala and who is also the founder of the Ongala Music Festival.

The festival has been growing since its inception in 2018.