Monday, February 13, 2017

Minister rallies support for Sauti za Busara festival

H. Art Band from Kenya performs at the 14th

H. Art Band from Kenya performs at the 14th Sauti za Busara festival in Zanzibar on Saturday night. PHOTO | HARRIET MAKWETA 

By Paul Owere @TheCitizenTz

Zanzibar. As record attendances were witnessed at the 2017 edition of the Sauti za Busara Music Festival, authorities here have admitted that it is about time they committed a budget towards the festival.

In an exclusive interview with The Citizen at the Ngome Kongwe, the Minister of State in the Second Vice President’s Office, Mr Mohammed Aboud Mohammed, said the event showcased the country and it shouldn’t be ignored any longer. “It is a forum where several nations come together through the power of Busara. There is no single event that brings visitors to Zanzibar like this festival,” he said.

On a night that featured several performances from across the continent with artistes such as Isau Meneses from Mozambique, Kyekyeku from Ghana and Pat Thomas from Germany, the minister said it only confirmed the philosophy that Africa is the same.

In the past 13 years, according to available statistics, the festival has contributed some $70 million in revenue to the Island.

“This festival helps in strengthening Zanzibar’s culture which is unique in its own way in today’s world and also galvanises the economy through tourism as it connects different countries.” He added: “It is not just a festival it is a meeting place where business deals are made and different collaborations are borne as Zanzibar gets to collaborate with other parts of the world.”

But as the Minister basked in the return of the festival, the low numbers of locals attending festival remained a major concern as the venue was mainly dominated by foreign revellers.