The Sanaa Africa Festival is set to take place at Moyo’s Zoo Lake from 21-24 May 2014. Now in its fifth year, the festival celebrates the spirit of Africa through entertainment. With May being the month in which the continent celebrates Africa Day, the festival provides a platform to be part of the celebrations by hosting the most entertaining, fun-filled experience in Africa and showcasing Africa’s creative industries.
This year’s theme is Connect, Collaborate, and Celebrate: Creating from our Heritage, and over the course of the four days, festival goers will be exposed to a collaboration of the biggest talents on the continent. The genres that will be features include fashion, fine art, music and film and theatre.
Sanaa Africa festival is the brainchild of festival director Nonhlanhla Matshazi, who was inspired by Santa Fe International Folk Art Market. The Santa Fe festival was founded by Native Americans in their quest for economic freedom. By selling something that was uniquely theirs – their arts and culture, they have developed themselves and the festival is now the biggest economic driver for the community.
Ms Matshazi felt Africa could replicate the success of that festival by using its own culture and heritage for economic growth. “Sanaa means to create from your heritage in Swahili. We are creating a new avenue of growth by using our diverse cultures and heritages,” she says. “And by sharing and collaborating with other cultures, we are not only promoting unity on the continent, we are also building each other. The festival promises to be a melting pot of the various unique talents from each country that is taking part,” she says.
Ms Matshazi believes this year is also unique in that with South Africa celebrating 20 years of freedom and democracy, the festival serves as a meeting point for African countries to celebrate this milestone in the history of the continent.
Countries that are taking part in this year’s Sanaa Africa Festival include Ethiopia, Nigeria, Senegal, Mozambique and Kenya, among others.
Some of the big names who will be featured at the festival include celebrated Tanzanian couturier, Mustafa Hassanali, who founded Swahili Fashion week, the biggest annual fashion event in East and Central Africa. On the music front, artists such as our own HHP, Mozambican musician Neyma and Ethiopian-born Nhatty Man. And in the performing arts space, renowned South African dancer Thoriso Magongwa will perform in the country for the first time in a long time.
“We are proud to be hosting such a rich line-up of the best in Africa’s creative industry. We hope that by showcasing these artists, we create knock on effects for all those involved in terms of creating jobs and perhaps even inspiring future talent,” Ms Matshazi says.
In an endorsement of the importance of the festival as a promoter of African arts and culture, MTN Foundation has returned as the main sponsor for the show.
“We are looking forward to this year’s line-up. It looks exciting and enticing. It definitely captures the spirit and energy that we wanted to enhance when we decided to support the Sanaa festival. MTN SA Foundation believes in a holistic approach and encourage all forms of entrepreneurial development through education, health and investment in the arts.” said Kusile Mtunzi-Hairwadzi, General Manager – MTN SA Foundation.