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Please help keep our festival alive and accessible for the people of Tanzania. Your support is greatly appreciated
  • 3 Alikiba (Tanzania) at Sauti za Busara 2015
    (photo: Peter Bennett
  • 5 Mim Suleiman (Zanzibar / UK) at Sauti za Busara 2015
    (photo: Peter Bennett)
  • 5 Songs for peace awards winners
    (photo: Masoud Khamis)
  • 5 Songs for peace winners
    (photo: Masoud Khamis)
  • 5 Thais Diara (Senegal) at Sauti za Busara 2015
    (photo: Peter Bennett)
  • 5 Sarabi (Kenya) at Sauti za Busara 2015
    (photo: Peter Bennett)
  • 5 Blitz the Ambassador (Ghana / USA) at Sauti za Busara 2015
    (photo: Peter Bennett)

Zanzibar music festival is cancelled. No Sauti za Busara in 2016.
Due to shortage of funding, Busara Promotions has reluctantly announced their decision to cancel the 2016 edition of Sauti za Busara. This will be the first time in thirteen years Zanzibar does not enjoy an international music festival in February read more


We now urgently seek partnerships with the public and private sectors, to build a secure and sustainable future for the festival. Generous marketing packages are available for all partners and sponsors.

For sponsor packs or more information, email

The 14th edition is scheduled for 9th – 12th February 2017. Over four days, the festival will include:

  • Live Stages: Exciting and dynamic shows with 400 artists (40 groups) on stage: ‘Full Mzuka’, 100% live!
  • Carnival Parade & Roadshow: Zanzibar Town and outlying districts also buzz with excitement!
  • Movers & Shakers: Local and visiting industry professionals meet, network and exchange
  • Swahili Encounters: Local and visiting artists exchange and create artistic collaborations
  • Busara Xtra: Fringe events across the island, as organised by local communities more

Latest Media Coverage

  • With no Sauti za Busara, will February still be Zanzibar’s busiest month?

    By In-house Kenya, February 4, 2016
    Year after year, Sauti za Busara drew growing crowds to the country and was seen as an integral part of the annual calendar of events for both Zanzibar and Tanzania as a whole .... read more

  • Zanzibar counts its losses without busara

    By Paul Owere, January 29, 2016
    It is a few days to February and there is very little activity around the Ngome Kongwe (Old Fort), an area that has been home to the Sauti Za Busara festivals.

    Apart from the few visitors arriving at the Forodhani Food Market to sample some of the Zanzibari delicacies there is not much going on.... read more

  • For Africa’s creative economy to thrive, it must be self-sustaining

    By Musinguzi Bamuturaki, Daily Nation, Nov 26, 2015
    The announcement by Busara Promotions that they will not be holding the Sauti za Busara music festival in Zanzibar next year is a stark reminder that lack of local financial support is a major impediment to the growth of Africa’s creative economy... read more

  • Shining light on festival programming in Africa

    by Beth Achitsa, Music In Africa, Nov 25, 2015
    Festivals provide space for both emerging bands and established performers to showcase their talent. Without their support, the African musical landscape would look very different. As the continent's festival scene continues to grow and new festivals emerge all around, Music In Africa spoke to organizers of various African festivals on what it takes to put together an exciting program for the audience and what artists need to do to earn a place at the various festivals. … read more

  • Sarabi ghetto boys hitting high notes

    By by Salome Gregory, The Citizen, Nov 23 rd 2015
    The first time I watched a Sarabi band performance was at the 12 th edition of the Sauti za Busara festival early this year at Ngome Kongwe, Zanzibar. The audience that evening was worked up as the Afro fusion band gave them a feel of their heart warming hits in a performance that … read more

  • "African leaders need to prioritize arts and culture"

    By Busara Promotions Nov 11, 2015
    Evidence shows that the creative economy is an increasingly powerful driver of development. Figures published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in May 2013 show that world trade of creative goods and services totalled a record $624 billion in 2011, more than doubling since 2002. The average annual growth rate during that period was 8.8%, with growth in developing-country exports of creative goods being even stronger; averaging 12.1% annually over the same period. Journey Ramadhan, projects manager at Busara Promotions in Zanzibar, wonders why African governments do not seem to prioritize arts and culture, despite the contribution of these industries to the economic growth... read more

  • Music In Africa at African Creative Economy Conference

    By; Nov 9, 2015
    A panel discussion on the first day titled 'Music and the Economy'; was moderated by Faisal Kiwewa from the Bayimba Foundation in Uganda. The panel also featured Andre Le Roux, who showed examples of well-conceived city-based initiatives to show how these projects were contributing to grow the vibrant live music scene in South Africa. Yusuf Mahmoud from Busara Promotions in Zanzibar discussed the recent decision not to host Sauti za Busara festival in 2016, highlighting the significant contribution of festivals to the local economy and the need for support of such festivals through public private more

  • Sauti za Busara Is Worth Saving. Here's Why...;

    by By Kampire Bahana October 5, 2015
    Our society undervalues the creative arts. This is an unfortunate fact. In the developing world, artisan activity is the 2nd largest employer after agriculture, generating $34 billion a year. Yet it still remains woefully underfunded in East Africa, along with its emaciated family of creative industries; visual arts, film and music... read more

  • Where to for the cancelled Sauti za Busara festival?

    by Setumo-Thebe Mohlomi, Mail & Guardian, 1st Sept 2015
    The festival's director has vowed that this lively celebration of East African music will be back bigger and stronger in 2017... read more

  • Sauti za Busara Festival Canceled for 2016

    by Tom Pryor, Afropop Worldwide, August 27, 2015
    Zanzibar's long-running Sauti za Busara Festival recently announced the cancellation of its 2016 edition, scheduled for February of next year. The annual festival, one of the largest in East Africa, ran for the last 12 years in Zanzibar's Stone Town and provided a valuable showcase for local Swahili talent, from taraab legends Bi Kidude and Culture Musical Club, to homegrown Tanzanian pop and hip-hop... read more

  • Zanzibar Music Festival may collapse

    by Sunday News Reporter in Zanzibar, 16 August 2015
    THE 13th edition of the Zanzibar Music (Sauti za Busara) festival may not go ahead as planned in 2016 due to lack of funds, the show’s organiser has warned.... read more

  • Kenya: Discard the Pride, Kenya Can Learn a Lot from Zanzibar

    by John Kariuki, The Star, 2 April 2015
    This year's 16th Cape Town International Jazz festival was hosted last weekend. Although the festival still bears the 'jazz' tag, there is a big representation of jazz-related events; those that are not necessarily jazz but have hints of it ..... read more

  • Messages is key for 'Blitz the Ambassador'

    by IMAN MANI, Daily News, 24 March 2015
    HIP-HOP and visual artist, Samuel Bazawule a.k.a. Blitz the Ambassador, finally returned to his New York, USA base LAST Friday. He had left music lovers entranced with his performance to close last month's Sauti za Busara music festival in..... read more

  • The Songlines Annual Festival Guide 2015

    by Songlines Magazine, 24 March 2015
    Songlines' definitive guide to the Top 10 UK Summer Festivals and 25 Best International Festivals: Whether you want to discover Rajasthan's best-kept musical secrets inside a majestic fort, or soak up soothing beats in a beautiful English garden ..... read more

Sauti za Busara 2015: Together as One

In Stone Town, Zanzibar, February 2015, it's 'full mzuka' and raining non-stop African music with Sauti za Busara, "one of Africa's best loved music festivals" (Rita Ray, BBC). Taste the vibes with Alikiba, Msafiri Zawose, Mim Suleiman, Leo Mkanyia & the Swahili Blues Band (Tanzania), Liza Kamikazi (Rwanda), festival MC Irene Celine and more. 2'11"; ScreenStation (UK) & Busara Promotions (Tanzania).,

  • Kenya: Sauti Za Busara Festival Rocks Music Lovers

    By Stanley Gazemba, ALL Africa, 11 March 2015
    The avenue meanders and dips and up ahead the modern buildings lining the avenue give way to the ancient stone buildings of Zanzibar's Stone Town. Strung up on the streetlights a banner welcomes us to the Sauti za Busara Festival..... read more

  • Transporting listeners across the world through music

    by Iman Mani, Daily News, 3rd March 2015
    ALIKIBA (Ally Saleh Kiba) was not the only artist from the Mainland to perform in front of a full house at the just-ended Sauti za Busara (SZB) (Sounds of Wisdom) music festival, four-day event. Yes, he was the act to close the opening .... read more


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Please help keep our festival alive and accessible for the people of Tanzania. Your support is greatly appreciated



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