FOR 20 years, Sounds of Wisdom – ‘Sauti za Busara’ has been a colourful music and cultural festival that brings people from all over the globe to Zanzibar. It has become an iconic celebration of East African music, art and culture.
It has become an important platform for young, emerging artists to showcase their talents to a wider audience. Under Yusuf Mahmoud, the annual festival excited Stone Town in Unguja.
It became the most popular music festival in East Africa and attracted thousands of visitors yearly.
It is a cornerstone of the region’s music industry, providing a valuable platform for up-and-coming musicians to share their creativity and reach a larger audience. Mahmoud, the founder and CEO and Sauti za Busara festival director for twenty years smiled and told ‘Daily News’ he was stepping down from his post and handing over to younger leaders with more stamina and fresh ideas.
He affirmed his decision saying that he believes giving the next generation a chance to take the lead and bring in more innovative ideas is crucial. He expressed his enthusiasm for the festival’s future and wished the new leadership all the best. “When we established Busara Promotions in 2003, one of our plans was to host an annual festival in Stone Town to showcase the wealth and diversity of music from East Africa and the Swahili speaking region.
“Little did we expect the festival to become a pan-African event that is now one of the most respected music events on the continent, attracting thousands of visitors to Zanzibar every year in February,” Mahmoud commented.
He confirmed that starting this month, Lorenz Herrmann, a German cultural entrepreneur, musician and arts manager who has lived in Tanzania since 2016, will become Managing Director.
To ensure the continued success of the annual Sauti za Busara festival, he will work closely with Journey Ramadhan, a Tanzanian who has worked as a manager with the event since 2009 and now takes the reins as Festival Director. Mahmoud will continue working with Busara as a governing Board of Trustees member.
He said that with core-funding support for the organisation assured for at least two more years from Fumba Town, a project by property developer CPS, this might be a sensible time to hand over. Commenting on his new appointment, Lorenz Herrmann, the incoming Managing Director, said, “My strong background in arts management, combined with my passion for promoting cultural diversity and supporting artists and my strong network in the corporate and cultural sector gained from seven years working in Zanzibar, align perfectly with Busara Promotions and make me well-equipped to take on this role.
“I believe that music and the arts have the power to bridge differences, foster understanding and promote positive change in society. I am committed to upholding these values and driving the festival’s impact and professionalism to new heights.” Further, the Busara promotion urges African musicians interested in participating were invited to apply online via the festival website until 31st July 2023.
The 21st Sauti za Busara edition will begin from February 9th – 11th, 2024 and is sponsored by Fumba Town – a project by CPS, Ignite Culture, Zanlink, and more to be confirmed.