SAUTI ZA BUSARA – February
‘Sauti za Busara’ meaning ‘sounds of wisdom’ is East Africa’s premier music festival, showcasing the best the Swahili music world has to offer. Every February, Stone Town’s Old Fort becomes a hive of activity, hosting bongo flava stars, ngoma dancers, drummers, taarab and hip hop at the friendliest music festival on the planet.
ZANZIBAR INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL – June/July
The Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) is one of East Africa’s largest cultural events and usually takes place each year in July. ZIFF presents an exciting and varied programme of international films and videos, music, dance, drama and art exhibitions.In 2007, ZIFF celebrated its 10th anniversary with the festival attracting larger and larger crowds each year and gaining international prominence, giving a platform for artwork from across the Dhow Countries of Tanzania, India and Oman. This gives a unique opportunity to preserve and promote the understanding of culture from across the Dhow Countries.
MWAKA KOGWA –July
The last week of July sees the village of Makunduchi celebrate Mwaka Kogwa, the Persian New Year. The festival is a riot of colour, filled with rituals and fun. Men are given the chance to mock fight each other with banana stems to clear any past disputes for the new year, women dress in their best clothes and sing songs about family, love and life.The highlight of the festival is the traditional burning of a hut, which is said to signify the passing of the old year and welcoming the new one. This ritual is believed to ensure the safety of the village in case of fire during the year and to purge evil from the people and the land.
After the fire and fighting, there is song, dance, drumming and feasting where hospitality is extended to everyone as the locals believe that any villager without a guest will be the recipient of bad luck and the party goes on till dawn.