From February 11 through February 13 all roads will lead to the Zanzibar archipelago, hosts of Sauti za Busara, an African music festival that will offer an exciting line-up of talented artists from east and southern Africa, with a special priority on women artists from Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Zambia and Congo-Brazzaville.
Sauti za Busara has in the past two decades has had a long and impressive track-record of showcasing some of Africa's finest musical talents at its Zanzibar annual festival, which has been running since 2004. For 19 years, Sauti za Busara has been championing Zanzibari music, Tanzanian music and African music, said Yusuf Mahmoud, the Sauti za Busara director of festival.
"For 19 years Sauti za Busara has been upholding the cultural traditions of Zanzibar and embracing music from the wider African continent," said Mahmoud. He said the theme of this year's 19th edition is "Paza Sauti za Wanawake" loosely translated into Kiswahili as "Amplifying Women's Voices".
Busara Promotions, the non-governmental organisation that organises the festival, acknowledges particular difficulties women musicians face in developing their professional careers. Mahmoud said Busara Promotions will pay special attention to the selection of female artists, encouraging their presence on stage as well as behind the scenes.
"The festival also gives priority to artists who use their music to promote peace, unity, human rights, freedom of expression and respect for cultural diversity," Mahmoud told Xinhua in a telephone interview on Wednesday. He said Sauti za Busara attracts people from all around the world, who bring a significant boost for the Zanzibar economy as visitors spend within the community, buy local food, drinks and handicrafts and explore the island beyond the predominantly foreign-owned beach resorts.
Above and beyond the commercial and societal aspects, Sauti za Busara is often hailed as a unique networking opportunity for artists, promoters and professionals from the African music industry, said Mahmoud.
"Sauti za Busara is not merely entertainment or a tourist attraction, but it is also a learning channel for its massive audience and followers,"said Mahmoud.
Paul Owere, the coordinator of the festival, told Xinhua that Covid-19 precautions and safety procedures will continue to be in place during the three-day festival. "Medical staff will be on site to assist if required. Organisers continue to review and liaise with the local authorities and promise to ensure good health and safety for all attending or connected to the event," said Owere.
In a recent video address, Tanzania's Zanzibar President Hussein Ali Mwinyi, acknowledged all who support the festival that he said brings many benefits to the Indian Ocean islands. "I congratulate the Sauti za Busara team for their great commitment and achievements to keep the festival alive, and special thanks to all the donors and sponsors who make it possible," said President Mwinyi. "I also congratulate and thank the many musicians who have made this a globally renowned event that attracts more and more visitors each year," he added.