Zanzibar. Sauti za Busara chairman Simai Mohamed Said has called on businesses on the Isles and Tanzania in general to leverage on its brand given the festivals growing allure over the 19 years.
He was speaking at a news conference held in Stone Town Zanzibar where the festival is expected to take place from February 11 to 13.
“Sauti za Busara started off as a small idea and most of its founding members are not alive now but the brand has grown and it is no longer just a Zanzibari thing but a global festival that draws attention from across Africa. We are just hosts of this festival but it belongs to the rest of the world,” said Mr Simai.
Faced with dire funding constraints with the current core-funder the Norwegian rolling up their funding which has lasted for the past 12 years, he called on businesses and government entities to step in to fill the void.
"Famed as one of the top Seven festivals on the African continent, Sauti za Busara offers unrivaled visibility for businesses given the amount of media coverage it attracts," said the board chairman.
Speaking at the news conference Festival Director Yusuf Mahmoud said Sauti za Busara returns this year on the heels of 2020 and 2021 that were devastating years for artists, creative in dustry and cultural tourism due to the global pandemic.
In 2021 Sauti za Busara was probably the only African music festival that continued with the live physical experience, demonstrating resilience and agility and emphasising its support for artistes.
“The theme of this year’s 19thedition is ‘Paza Sauti: Amplifying Women’s Voices’. The festival will once again 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,” said Mr Mahmoud.
He added: Sauti za Busara is not merely entertainment or a tourist attraction; it is also a learning channel for its massive audience and followers, serving a number of important values: identity, community and participation, integration and equality, freedom of expression, creativity, cultural heritage and pluralism and long-term legacy that generates income, especially for women, youth and marginalised communities.
He reiterated Mr Simai Mohammed’s call saying African festivals should find ways to become more sustainable and self-reliable and not overly dependent on donor funds.
Apart from the core funding from the Norwegian embassies, the festival has over the years been a beneficiary of support from Tanzanian private sector.
The sponsors include CRDB Bank, Zanlink, Emerson Zanzibar, Hotel Maru Maru and various media partners.
This support is not only being appreciated by the organisers, but also even by the President of Zanzibar Hussein Ali Mwinyi.
In a recent video address, he acknowledged all who support the festival that brings manybenefits to the 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. 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 said.