Sauti za Busara festival goes on without a hitch

Monday February 22 2021
Vitali Maembe.

Vitali Maembe performing on stage. He has toured Germany, Sweden, Hungary, Kenya, Uganda, and Burundi. PHOTO | COURTESY


Despite Covid-19 fears, the 18th edition of Sauti za Busara festival in Zanzibar went on smoothly on the February 13-14 weekend, with people from across the world in attendance.

“We found no reason not to hold the festival. Authorities have told us to resume life and continue taking the advised precautions and that’s what we do,” said the Sauti za Busara team.

The festival had about 14 performers from around the continent, including Tanzania mainland, Uganda, South Africa, Lesotho, Ghana, The Gambia and Algeria. The festival brought to stage a number of first-time local artists such as Vitali Maembe, Zenj Boy from Zanzibar, Dulla Makabila, Barnaba Classic and Richie Lumambo’s band.

The showstopper was Singeli singer Dullah Makabira, who performed for two hours non-stop. Singeli has fast-paced rhythms with rapid-fire vocals articulating often humorous but pertinent stories over rolling, percussive beats. Singeli evolved from mchiriku sounds from the Zaramo tribe in the coast, and comes with a bit of other sounds like segere.

Other artists were Morena Leraba (Lesotho), Djam (Algeria), Sika Kokoo (Ghana), Dawda Jobarteh (The Gambia), Siti Muharam (Zanzibar), Sandra Nankoma (Uganda), Stone Town Rockerz (Zanzibar) and Dogo Fara (Reunion. Maembe and his team have performed in many countries, including Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Norward and Hungary besides Kenya, Uganda, and Burundi.

Coronavirus did not stop Sauti za Busara fans from enjoying the live music at the festival but preventive measures were observed.


This year’s theme was Mazingira yetu, Maisha yetu (Our Environment, Our life) reminding us to care for our environment while raising awareness on environmental hazards.