Read Our Story: Global Empowerment Theatre

Read Our Story: Global Empowerment Theatre

When I look back on my own education, I honestly don’t remember much of what was written on chalkboards. I do remember the moments when a teacher looked beyond the chalkboard and made learning more interesting and even fun at moments. I cherish today my memories of moments when a teacher engaged me or inspired me or helped me to use my voice."  

 -Jennifer Holmes, Ph.D
Our Story

In 2006, Jen was invited to participate in an educational theatre program at schools off the coast of mainland Tanzania in Zanzibar. The project was life changing and eye opening. At the schools she visited, boys were often called upon to answer questions, while girls sat silently. Many of the girls she spoke with talked about dreams of higher education and better opportunities, but lamented that, as women, these opportunities might not be available to them.

After speaking with teachers and administrators at the schools, she realized that many people were aware of the women’s lack of voice in both the classroom and the community. The Ministry of Education in Zanzibar put forth a number of policies to help bring more opportunities for women, and although there was a significant increase in the number of girls enrolled in schools, the culture in the classroom remained unchanged.

Due to colonial influence, imitation and repetition are a major part of teaching and learning in Zanzibar. In many classrooms, teachers spend class after class covering chalkboard after chalkboard with copious notes. This method of instruction is teacher-centered and offers little hope of active student participation or positive interaction between boys and girls in the classroom.

We wondered how the lack of a creative outlet in school—one through which students could express themselves and their ideas—affected the girl’s perceptions of themselves and their roles in society. We saw the potential of arts-based techniques to serve both male and female students by encouraging critical interaction. We were certain these techniques would inspire more responses and engagement from the girls in the class.

To combat the disparity between the voices of boys and girls in the classroom, we developed a program that blended applied and educational theatre techniques. We piloted the program in Zanzibar in the summer of 2007. By 2010, workshops were being conducted in India, Myanmar, the United States, and we were joined by two accomplished teachers, Maya Turner Singh and Ashley Olson.

When we first arrived in Zanzibar we saw a library that had been built years before but still had no books on the shelves. Generous donors from overseas had built a library but had been unable to or had forgotten to put books on the shelves. The villagers were so very proud of their library but wondered year after year when the promise of the library would be kept. When we returned the next year, our suitcases were brimming with books.

As Global Empowerment Theatre has grown, we have taught students to fill their own empty shelves with stories from their own lives. Each young person who learns from our workshops how to tell their own stories can fill an empty shelf. Each teacher we inspire to help their students use their voices and tell their stories can fill an empty library.

Many of us have a memory of a moment in our lives when we have felt powerful, as if we could take on the world and win. Without such moments, how can children envision success? How will they develop the confidence to achieve great things?
Global Empowerment Theatre provides children with opportunity to be heard, and for many it is the first time they have ever shared their voices. We can think of nothing more empowering.
Jennifer Holmes, Ph.D.                                                                          
Co-Founder & Board Chair 


6. Howlround: International cultural exchange is impossible…

This four-part series documents the experiences of a young, Fulbright fellow, avidly exploring theater and life in Bucharest, Romania.

"International cultural exchange is impossible…therefore we must try," is a tenet of SITI Company, one of the first places where I came in direct contact with a community of international artists.

Sitting at the other end of my nine months in Romania, I contemplate this statement with profound confusion. I want to believe that I’ve “figured” Romanian theater out, but I also know that honestly that’s nowhere near true. I am still trying to understand Romanian art or rituals, but I think that taking the risk, trying out another culture, learning from the individual is the key. Creating the connection is the biggest need in a time when nations borders are getting taller. Connection and community between people of different backgrounds is what I always hope for in my shows. I believe that it’s our call as theater artists to cross the borders of communities, be it a country across a vast ocean or a different neighborhood; we attempt to connect different people to the same story.

So, how can these connections be fostered? How can I serve these two countries and communities, who, while very different, are also very similar in their struggle for audience, relevance and funding?

One of my main projects of this year turned into a playwriting experiment. I commissioned four Romanian playwrights (Bogdan Georgescu, Eugen Jebeleanu, Maria Manolescu and Mihaela Michailov) and four American playwrights (Cory Hinkle, Andrew Kramer, Caroline V. McGraw and Alice Pencavel) to wri
te ten-minute plays around the same prompt, “My new jeans from H&M.” Commissioning playwrights is close to unheard of in Romania, writers’ groups are few and far between and writing around a prompt was generally regarded with trepidation.

These playwrights all wrote first drafts on their own, then were put in touch with each other and a Romanian director for the second draft. Some teams really connected, skyping with notes for each other, others had issues dealing with the time and language differences (similar problems that I experience even when working with collaborators of my nationality and in the same city). All of the plays were performed in a Romanian reading in Bucharest in May 2014, and they will all be performed in English in New York in the fall of 2014. (Videos of the Romanian readings are available here.)

What happens when you put playwrights in conversation through their plays? Can a cross-borders writing group exist on a virtual platform? What if the act of writing moves from an individual one into a process that looks more like devising? This experiment feels like the beginning of a larger project, exploring commissioning and writing across borders. I’m biased towards Romania and the US right now, but somehow these two countries feel like a perfect match. Romania is a melting pot of old customs and rituals, and added to it is the strong pull of America pop culture. The post revolution generation struggles to find their identity between these two extremes and the H&M plays reflect this dichotomy.

I sat in the first rehearsal of one of these shows and naively asked the Romanian actors, “When have you felt like you were the underdog?” Each actor answered in the exact same way, “ We fight against the system every day. I feel the pressure, the inability to do anything and I fight it in any small way that I can.” The “Man” in Romania looms large, the lack of funding, opportunities and jobs sends the young generation abroad, where they are looked on with disdain as the immigrants who come to steal jobs from the residents. But the artists who remain prevail, making work in a country and a culture that sometimes seems to set roadblocks at every corner. The art triumphs, in bars, apartments, theaters built in garages, basements and museum staircases. This comes from a need to fight the system in any way they can, a need to make work, to write, direct and act, and the hope of being picked up, promoted or supported a distant goal.

So what has this drive to make work in Romania taught me?

I learned that art that has nothing to lose makes for theater that is fierce and always has something to say. While the larger state institutions are funded and “guided” by the government, the younger artists use the independent theater scene to use their voice against this system. A new way of making theater seems to be growing here, one that is built from the bottom up, that strives for open economics, distrusts the state and works to make community among these other young companies. They are building the system they want to work in, against all obstacles.

The American standard of play development feels like a dream, in comparison to the scraps that emerging Romanian writers get, but the general comparison is that while American playwrights know the rules of structure, form and storytelling, they write safe plays. The Romanian writers, who are mainly self-taught, on the other hand, tend to be more daring. Chances are they won’t be produced anyway, so they might as well write exactly what they want to say. These writers stand out in their risk taking, in a culture that promotes fitting in with the crowd and keeping your head down to survive.

The young Romanian artists are trying to create a new structure of theater in any way they can and, I believe, that we, as young American artists and administrators, can learn from our fellow artists in Romania. We must try international cultural exchange, we must share ideas across borders and we must band together for the future of global theater. Who knows if it would lead to genuine cultural exchange, but the act of taking a risk is the biggest step.

THE GMT +3 Calling Journalists/ Writers/ Photographers

The GMT +3 is on an online news and reporting website intended to build connections between the diverse Cosmopolitan experiences in East Africa (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda).

The online forum encompasses those living in East Africa and in the Diaspora (including Europe, the United States and Asia).

The GMT +3 seeks to build a core collective of brilliant, innovative and dedicated writers, journalists, and photographers willing to contribute to the website once a week.

If you are interested, please email a sample of your work and a pitch for a story/photo series  to by Thursday March 21, 2013. The story/ photo series pitch should fall under one of the six categories: The Arts, Culture, Hit and Miss, GMT +3 Voices, The Innovator, and The News.

Please make sure to put Call For Journalists/ Photographers/ Writers in the email subject heading and in the body of the email include :




Country of Origin

Country currently residing

Looking forward to hearing from you!
Melissa Kiguwa

Final Call for Artists | Sauti za Busara 2013

Final Call for Artists: Sauti za Busara 2013


Sauti za Busara is East Africa’s No. 1 music festival. The 10th edition is happening inside the Old Fort in Zanzibar Stone Town during 14 – 17 February 2013.

Celebrating Africa’s musical treasures, the festival showcases many of the Continent’s finest; all performing 100% live, from Friday through Sunday, 5pm ‘til 1am. More treats include African music films, the local food and crafts market, skills-building workshops, networking meetings for professionals, and of course Busara Xtra, with more music and cultural events all around Zanzibar Town as organized by the local community.

African musicians from anywhere in the world are welcome to apply for opportunities to showcase on the main stage at Sauti za Busara, by completing the online application and sending recordings to reach our office before 31 July. The festival selection takes place in August and all applicants are notified during September.



Friends of Busara Thank You Party


To thank friends of busara and supporters of the 2012 festival, we are hosting a Garden Party at the Busara office on Friday 22nd June. Including the first public screening of film documentary“More Than a Festival”; of course as always the event will also feature awesome music, warm vibes and great company.

By invitation only! Email in case you need to be invited.




Call for Donors & Festival Sponsors



Daily tickets for the festival cost less than US$2 for Tanzanian citizens. To help keep the event accessible for the local population we rely on support from donors and sponsors.

The festival acknowledges all donors and main sponsors with logos on festival homepage (last January alone www.busaramusic.orggenerated 3.4 million hits); also in newsletter updates (reaching 57,000 subscribers worldwide) and festival programmes, venue banners, stage announcements, in press releases and more…

If you may be interested to partner with the festival, for more information.



Job Vacancies with Busara


Managing Director (MD), Busara Promotions

Full time, two-year contract, starting 6 August 2012. Open to all nationalities (with minimum 3 years experience in NGO/arts senior management)

To be responsible for administrative and financial operations of the NGO

Send your CV and motivation letter to director@busara.or.tzbefore 30 June 2012

For more information click here

Technical Manager, Busara Promotions

Full time, six-month contract, starting 1 October 2012. Open to all nationalities (with minimum 5 years relevant experience)

To be responsible for providing technical support for Sauti za Busara Festival and other projects

Send your CV and motivation letter to director@busara.or.tzbefore 31 July 2012

For more information click here

Press Coordinator, Busara Promotions

Full time, six-month contract, starting 1 October 2012. Open to Tanzanian citizens and East African residents

Send your CV and motivation letter to busara@busara.or.tzbefore 31 July 2012

For more information click here


Busara Promotions is committed to diversity and gender equality and employing local people wherever possible. Please note only candidates under serious consideration will be contacted.


Zanzibar Festivals Calendar


Hey, our festival is not the only one in town. Also coming soon to Zanzibar:

15th ZIFF Festival of the Dhow Countries: 
7 – 15 July, 2012

East Africa’s major film and arts festival, showcasing a broad spectrum of African & international creativity on the theme When Global Images Meet in Zanzibar. Read more

2nd Jahazi Literary and Jazz Festival: 
31 Aug – 2 Sept, 2012

A scintillating weekend of open-air jazz concerts, storytelling, poetry readings, music and literary workshops, VIP dinners and… read more


See calendar for more East African arts events

See calendar for other recommended African music festivals



Contact Us


Busara Promotions 
PO Box 3635 
Stone Town 
Zanzibar, Tanzania

Find us on the airport road, opposite Golf Club

Tel: +255 24 223 2423 
or +255 773 822 294


Sauti za Busara music festival – Newsletter – October 2010 – Announcing Artists 2011

Busara symbol - click for home page


October 2010

In this edition:
SzB logo

>>> Kiswahili hapa 
>>> version Française
>>> English here

Sauti za Busara 2011

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2011 poster

Sauti za Busara 2011
THE East African Music Festival!

The eighth edition of Sauti za Busara music festival takes place in Stone Town, Zanzibar 9 – 13 February 2011. Five nights of 100% live African music under African skies.

Sauti za Busara (Sounds of Wisdom) is an international festival showcasing and celebrating the wealth and diversity of music from East Africa and beyond.

Preparations are coming alon
g nicely for next year’s music extravaganza, which we expect to be the biggest and best yet. Sauti za Busara 2011 will feature the island’s largest Carnival Street Parade: setting alight the streets on Opening Day, including beni brass band, ngoma drummers, mwanandege umbrella women, stilt-walkers, capoeira, acrobats and surprises. Aside from the main stage programme, featuring forty music groups from all around Africa, there will be the African Music Film programme with documentaries, music videos, clips and live concert footage along with the festival marketplace: local food and drinks, music, jewellery, clothing and handicrafts.

There will also be Swahili Encounters 4-days of artistic collaborations, for invited local and visiting musicians and seminars and training workshops, building skills for artists, managers, music journalists, sound and lighting technicians and filmmakers from the East Africa region. Movers & Shakers provides a daily networking forum for local and visiting arts professional

Regular updates on line-up and programme of events / Photo galleries of earlier editions / Profiles of all artists who participated during 2004 – 2010 / Video blogs and press coverage Sauti za Busara 2010

Announcing artists line-up 2011

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Provisional Line Up

(see 10 most looked at)

Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou (Benin)  Blick Bassy (Cameroon)  Cheikh Lô(Senegal)  Otentikk Street Brothers (Mauritius)  Kassé Mady Diabaté (Mali) Kwani Experience (South Africa)  Mlimani Park Orchestra (Tanzania) Culture Musical Club (Zanzibar)  Mohamed Ilyas & Nyota Zameremeta (Zanzibar) Maulidi ya Homu ya Mtendeni (Zanzibar)  Sukiafrica Sukiyaki Allstars (Various) Yaaba Funk (UK)  Sousou & Maher Cissoko (Senegal / Sweden) Sinachuki Kidumbak (Zanzibar)  Swahili Encounters Group (Various) Les Frères Sissoko (Senegal)  GEATA (Ethiopia)  Djeli Moussa Diawara (Guinea) Groove Lélé (Reunion)  NEWS Quartet (Various)  Vusa Mkhaya & Band (Various) Nomakanjani Arts (Zambia)  Maureen Lupo Lilanda (Zambia)  Les Go de Kotéba(Cote d'Ivoire)  Djaaka (Mozambique)  Muthoni The Drummer Queen (Kenya) Lelelele Africa (Kenya)  Bismillahi Gargar (Kenya)  Atemi & the Ma3 Band (Kenya) Black Roots (Zanzibar)  Sauda (Tanzania)  Tunaweza Band (Tanzania) Wanyambukwa Artist Group (Tanzania)  Tom Diakité (Mali)  and more.

100% live on stage – no playback!

(website regularly updated, more artists to be confirmed)

Les Freres

Les Freres Sissoko (Senegal)


Muthoni The Drummer Queen

Muthoni The Drummer Queen (Kenya)

Black Roots (Zanzibar)

Black Roots (Zanzibar)


Last call for African music films & clips

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New for the 2011 festival is the African Music Film programme. Throughout five nights the Old Fort’s amphitheatre becomes a cinema space under the stars where music films will be screened, complementing more than forty live music shows on the main stage next door.

We are looking for a variety of stimulating and entertaining music films from the African Continent and diaspora. These may be full length features, recorded concerts, documentaries, music clips and videos or more experimental films. We’re looking primarily for:

  1. Films with great visuals, quality sound and music that is firmly rooted in Africa
  2. Films that tell of new and unheard of sounds as well as established artists
  3. Music films that represent the wealth and diversity of music from East Africa and beyond

Foreign language films should ideally be subtitled in Kiswahili and/or English
Deadline for applications: 12th November 2010. 
More info and application form at

If you have just a suggestion, link, or favorite African music video that you think we should know about, please do just send an email to

Tickets and Prices

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Featuring top-quality musical performances by more than 400 established and upcoming artists (around 40 groups in total), Sauti za Busara has already established itself as one of Africa’s leading music festivals. It’s an event that unites people in celebration. The main stage of the festival is within Stone Town’s historic Old Fort. Performances run from Wednesday through til Sunday, starting in the late afternoon, and continuing virtually non-stop, with the final band taking to the stage around midnight.

Admission is free to local people until 6pm. After that everyone needs a ticket or
. Prices vary for citizens, residents, and visitors. VIP tickets are available for those who prefer seating.

Visitor Info

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Want a reliable company to organise everything for you? – try Songlines Festival Tours (Europe) or Zanzibar Festival Tours (North America)

For information about travel to Zanzibar, local tours, discounts and other useful advice for visitors, check ourVisitor Info page.

Busara Xtra

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It is not just Busara Promotions who are putting on a show. All around Zanzibar will be other events, activities and entertainment for everyone to enjoy. Busara Xtra is the umbrella brand for fringe activities of cultural interest to festival visitors, outside of the main programme.

In the past these included Swahili fashion shows, garden feasts, poetry competitions, ngoma nights, a dhow race, open mic sessions and plenty more live music in hotels and restaurants.

Why not host an exhibition, fashion show, Swahili food event or African music disco? We invite everyone in Zanzibar interested in hosting an event to get in touch with us as soon as possible.

All events will be advertised for free on the official Busara Xtra webpage on our home site which is currently receiving around 500,000 hits a month. Also your event will be listed in the official Festival Programme, of which 3000 copies will be sold during festival time and distributed internationally through the following year.

Deadline for information to be included and promoted as part of Busara Xtra:  December 13, 2010.

Be a Logo Sponsor

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This is the perfect opportunity for your business to make THE East African music festival happen.

How? By becoming an official Logo sponsor. see website

Busara Stalls

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If you want to have a stall during the festival please apply here. English Kiswahili

Advertise or be a Friend of Busara

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Advertising space is limited, but placing an advert in the festival programme is another great way to show your support and be associated with this celebrated event. For more information including tariffs and sizes see website.

You can also become an official “friend of Busara” and get your logo seen. see website

Visit us at WOMEX, Copenhagen

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Womex10: come find us on Stand no. 130

During October 27 – 30 
Busara Promotions will be based at Stand no. 130 
(ACP Music Festivals Network/ Zone Franche)

Busara through the year

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Zanzibar music symposium

Zanzibar Music Symposium

On September 25th 2010 Busara Promotions hosted the first Zanzibar Music Symposium; a one-day seminar bringing together over sixty Zanzibari artists – young and old, with representatives from all music genres of the island’s vibrant music scene. The day’s in-depth discussion focused specifically on how to improve market access for local musicians with training sessions on producing biographies and press kits, improving media promotion in radio, print and internet. Discussion was lively, vibrant with artists creating new solutions on how to market themselves internationally. Feedback was very positive, with all participants appreciating the opportunity to network, learn, exchange ideas and hatch strategies to promote the island’s music.

The Symposium was possible thanks to support from the Embassy of the United States and the Royal Norwegian Embassy. We aim to organise symposia regularly in the future, and to be able to invite artists from Tanzania mainland and other parts of East Africa.

Top African Music Festivals under African Skies

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Don’t forget to check out our festival listing page for links to some of the other top festivals taking place annually around Africa.

Without Whom… Thanks to our Sponsors

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Festival organisers are pleased to acknowledge the faith, vision and generous support of our donors and sponsors, without whom Sauti za Busara would not be possible. At this stage of preparation, budgeting and planning are always a nightmare for us. We've received some promises and still need many more. So far, Festival 2011 is powered by:

principal sponsor

Zantel logo

main sponsors

Norwegian Embassy US Embassy, DSM

logo sponsors

Memories ZGPH Gallery Tours

media sponsors


The Africa House Hotel, Zanzibar Beach Resort, British Council, Embassy of Germany, ZanAir, fly540, Zanlink, Dhow Countries Music Academy , WOMEX, Tabasam Tours, Linear Velocity, Footcandles, Coastal Aviation, Mercury's, Archipelago, Stone Town Café,

Thanks also to: Ministry for Information, Culture & Sports, and to all the people of Zanzibar: 
"Shukurani kwa kukubali kuwa tamasha hili ni letu sote na mchango wenu ndio ambao umelifanikisha."

Contact Us

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Busara Promotions logo

Busara Promotions 
PO Box 3635 
Stone Town 
Zanzibar, Tanzania

Find us on the airport road, opposite Golf Club

news from the Sauti za Busara Festival in Zanzibar

Do not reply to this email address. If you would like to get in touch please use
Usijibu kutumia barua pepe hii. Kama utapenda kuwasiliana nasi tafadhali tumia

Busara symbol - click for home page


November 2009

In this edition:
SzB logo
>>> kwa Kiswahili hapa

Sauti za Busara 2010

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The seventh edition of the Sauti za Busara music festival will take place in Zanzibar, 11-16 February 2010; admission is free to all EA Residents before 5pm.

Sauti za Busara (Sounds of Wisdom) is an international festival celebrating East African music taking place around the second weekend of February each year in Zanzibar.

2010 fROOTS line-up advert

Announcing artists line-up 2010

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Confirmed Artists

(see 10 most looked at)

Thandiswa (South Africa) > Simba & Brown Band (Mozambique) > Debo  Band(Ethiopia / USA) > Ikwani Safaa Musical Club ft Tamalyn Dallal (Zanzibar / USA) >Tausi Women's Taarab (Zanzibar) > Mari Boine (Norway) > Dawda Jobarteh(The Gambia) > Del & Diho (Mayotte) > Fresh Jumbe & African Express(Tanzania / Japan) > Mim Suleiman (Zanzibar / UK) > Massar Egbari (Egypt) >Nyota Ndogo (Kenya) > Obibase (Guinea) > Sousou & Maher Cissoko(Senegal / Sweden) > Xova (UK) > Kunja Dance Theatre (Kenya) >Sinachuki Kidumbak (Zanzibar) > Isaac Blackman & The Love Circle(Trinidad & Tobago) > Bamba Nazar & The Pilgrimage (Suriname / NL) > Jimmy Omonga(DRC / NL) > Joel Sebunjo & Sundiata (Uganda) > Makadem (Kenya) > Nass Makan(Egypt) > Maureen Lupo Lilanda (Zambia) > Juliana Kanyomozi (Uganda) >Mzungu Kichaa (Denmark / Tanzania) > Jhikoman (Tanzania) > Best of WaPi (Tanzania) >Shirikisho Sanaa (Zanzibar) > Tunda Man (Tanzania) > Sosolya Dance Academy(Uganda) > Mapacha Africa (Kenya) > Swifatui Abraar Group (Tanzania) > DJ Eddy(Zanzibar) > DJ Yusuf (UK / Zanzibar) > Sowers Group (Tanzania) > Maia Von Lekow(Kenya) > Keita & Swahili Vibes (Zanzibar) > Tunaweza Band (Tanzania) >KVZ Tupendane (Pemba) and more.

100% live on stage – no playback!

(website regularly
updated, more headline artists to be confirmed)

Thandiswa (South Africa)

Thandiswa (South Africa)

Joel Sebunjo & Sundiata (Uganda)

Joel Sebunjo (Uganda)

Tickets and Prices

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Featuring top-quality musical performances by more than 400 established and upcoming artists (40 groups in total), Sauti za Busara has already established itself as one of Africa’s leading music festivals. It’s an event that unites people in celebration.

The main stage of the festival is within Stone Town’s historic Old Fort. Performances run from Thursday through til Sunday, starting in the late afternoon, and continuing virtually non-stop into the evening, with the final band taking to the stage around midnight.

Admission is free to East African residents until 5pm. After that you need a ticket or pass. Prices vary for citizens, residents, and visitors. VIP tickets are available for those who prefer seating.

Visitor Info

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Want someone else to organise everything for you? 
– try Songlines Festival Tours


Want discount when booking accommodation? 
– ask Tabasam Tours for the “Busara discount”

For information about organised tours, discounts and other useful advice for visitors 
– please check our Visitor Info page.

More Opportunities

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Busara Xtra

Hey, it's not just us. With so many people in town all sorts of fringe events, activities and performances are organised by hotels, restaurants and businesses.
We call it “Busara Xtra” and we'll do our best to let you know what's happening.

If you are planning something – tell us your news – and we’ll promote it for free!


Only a few spaces remaining for stalls and traders.

For more information see
Deadline 1 December 2009.


Placing an advert in the festival programme is another great way to show your support and be associated with this celebrated event. Space is limited, and the deadline is looming.

For more information including tariff and sizes see
Deadline: All artwork by 11th December 2009


The festival would not be possible without the generous support of our donors and sponsors – both financial and 'in kind'. To all potential donors and sponsors, we have prepared a sponsorship pack, including a list of “benefits for logo sponsors”, and a list of imaginative ways that your name can be seen as part of the Festival's success.

For further details, please contact us before the 1 December 2009.

Prize Competition

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Zanzibar festival classics CD Busara Book: First Five Years
Busara t-shirts


Busara Books

Festival DVDs


and t-shirts

We have Christmas zawadi-bags to give away to three of our newsletter subscribers who best complete the following sentence:

"Seeing African music performed live in Africa is better because …… "

Send us your answers by email before 1st December to
Don’t forget to include your postal address and T-shirt size (S/M/L/XL/XXL)

Bi Kidude – DVD

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The myth and life of Bi Kidude

You can now order the DVD from Sterns Music (UK) and they will post anywhere in the world.

There's more information about the movie

“Impressive and engrossing” Charlie Gillett
“A remarkable documentary” Simon Broughton, Songlines
“A delight from beginning to end” Howard Male, The Independent
“A living folk-memory of Swahili music” Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Bi Kidude film postcard


Without Whom… Thanks to our Sponsors

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Festival organisers are pleased to acknowledge the faith, vision and generous support of our donors and sponsors, without whom Sauti za Busara would not be possible. At this stage of preparation, budgeting and planning are always a nightmare for us. We've received some promises and still need many more. So far, Festival 2010 is powered by:

principal sponsor

Zantel logo

main sponsors

HIVOS - people unlimited
Norwegian Embassy
British Council

logo sponsors


media sponsors

ZG Design

festival party sponsor


Goethe-Institut, US Embassy, UNDP, Gallery Tours, ZanAir, Memories of Zanzibar, Zanlink, Dhow Countries Music Academy , WOMEX, Embassy of Denmark, Stone Town Café, Mercury’s Restaurant, Archipelago Café & Restaurant, Tabasam Tours, Monsoon Restaurant, Linear Velocity, Footcandles,

Thanks also to: Ministry for Information, Culture & Sports, and to all the people of Zanzibar: 
"Shukurani kwa kukubali kuwa tamasha hili ni letu sote na mchango wenu ndio ambao umelifanikisha."

Contact Us

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Busara Promotions logo

Busara Promotions 
PO Box 3635 
Stone Town 
Zanzibar, Tanzania

Find us between Africa House and Serena Inn, opposite Amore Mio.

Tel: +255 24 223 2423
or +255 784 925 499
or +255 773 822 294

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You can also contact us by email at and at our physical address. Find us in Stone Town, between Africa House and Serena Hotel, opposite Amore Mio.

Busara Promotions PO Box 3635, Zanzibar, Tanzania – +255 24 223 2423 or +255 784 925 499 or +255 773 822 294

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news from the Sauti za Busara Festival in Zanzibar


Kwa Kiswahili gonga hapa



Dear friends of busara


TV viewers around Africa have the chance to watch highlights of last February’s Sauti za Busara [Sounds of Wisdom] music festival on TBC1 (Channel 143 on DSTV) every Tuesday at 7.30pm EAT (East Africa Time). Tonight’s edition is the second in a five-part series, as sponsored by leading local phone network Zantel.


Thanks to our friends at ScreenStation (UK), there is also a ten-minute promo of the festival that is generating much excitement on You Tube at


Meanwhile, for the best selection of photos from the festival, see Jeremy Llewellyn-Jones’ photo gallery or more at


And finally, for African musicians from anywhere in the world interested to participate at the 7th edition of Sauti za Busara, taking place in Zanzibar 11 – 16 February 2010, you can apply online (English, Kiswahili et Francais) at


Enjoy the vibes – more fire as always at the “friendliest festival on the planet”!




Wapendwa marafiki wa busara


Watazamaji wa luninga kutoka Afrika mnanafasi ya kuangalia toleo lililopita la mwezi wa pili la tamasha la muziki Sauti za Busara kupitia TV ipendwayo na wengi TBC1 ( na wenye DSTV katika chaneli143) kila jumanne kuanzia saa1:30 usiku (kwa saa za Afrika Mashariki) Toleo la leo ni la pili katika matoleo matano, ambayo yamedhaminiwa na mtandao wa Zantel.


Shukrani za dhati kwa marafiki wetu kutoka ScreenStation (UK), kwani pia kuna filamu ya dakika kumi inayopatikana


Kwa sasa unaweza kuchagua picha nzuri za tamasha, angalia

Jeremy Llewellyn-Jones’ kupitia au zaidi


Na mwisho , kwa wasanii wa Afrika na pande zote duniani wanaotaka kushiriki katika toleo la 7 la Sauti za Busara, litakalofanyika Zanzibar kuanzia tarehe 11 mpaka 16 Februari 2010, unaweza kutuma maombi yako kupitia  tovuti yetu


Makamuzi kwenda mbele katika “tamasha rafiki duniani”!


You can contact us by email at and at our physical address. Find us in Stone Town, between Africa House and Serena Hotel, opposite Amore Mio.

Busara Promotions PO Box 3635, Zanzibar, Tanzania – +255 24 223 2423 or +255 784 925 499 or +255 773 822 294

Eti! East Africa Speaks!

Eti! East Africa Speaks! : A THEATRE EXCHANGE  In July 2008, a group of eleven theatre artists from East Africa (Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda) will come to Dartmouth College and New York City for a three and a half week residency.  The primary aims of the residency include :

·        building connections between the U.S. and East Africa by exposing East African work to U.S. audiences and by providing the East African artists with an opportunity to network and work with top-notch U.S. theatre practitioners

·        to provide the African artists with the time and space to interact and create across East African national boundaries and to foster a growing regional artistic identity

·        to redress a pervasive lack of knowledge in the U.S. about the cultures of East Africa by providing these artists with a forum to speak about the challenges and capacities of modern African identity through the medium of the performing arts. Several of the artists (Mumbi Kaigwa, Okello Kelo Sam, George Seremba, and members of Parapanda Theatre Arts) are bringing specific plays or ensemble pieces to be workshopped and presented in showcase performances at Dartmouth and the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center CUNY in NYC.  (See below for more information on these pieces.)  Other artists will be participating as workshop leaders and facilitators and will potentially join in the creation of a collective piece generated during the workshop.   The first two weeks of the residency (June 30 to July 14) will occur at Dartmouth in Hanover, NH.  The purpose of these two weeks are: 1) to allow the artists to develop and refine the works-in-progress and 2) to facilitate artistic exchanges and dialogue among and between the artists and Dartmouth theatre students through dance and theatre workshops, play readings, and improvisations.  These two weeks will culminate in a showcase performance for the Dartmouth and regional community on July 12 and 13.   After Dartmouth, the artists will continue the developmental residency in New York City with the support and assistance of 651 ARTS/Africa Exchange.  The ten days will culminate in a series of work-in-progress presentations of their work at the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center CUNY, scheduled for July 21 and 22. The New York segment will offer opportunities to network with potential artistic collaborators, producers and presenters as well as to attend shows.  By the end of the residency, our hope is that the East African artists will have developed concrete and useful relationships that can be translated into practical opportunities to build further connections between the U.S. and East Africa. This project is being made possible through the generous support of the Ford Foundation, Dartmouth College, 651 ARTS/Africa Exchange, and the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at the CUNY Graduate Center.      THE PERFORMANCES 

Come Good Rain.  A play written and performed by George Seremba that consists of an autobiographical account of Seremba's terrifying experiences in 1970s Uganda.   In a solo performance that integrates Ugandan song, folklore, and live percussion, he takes the audience on his journey from bare survival to triumph over the oppressive political regimes of Milton Obote and Idi Amin.


Forged in Fire.  A collaborative performance piece by Okello Kelo Sam, Robert Ajwang’ and Laura Edmondson that integrates dance, music, and testimony to explore Okello’s wrenching experiences of the civil war in northern Uganda.  Performed by Okello and Ajwang’.


They Call Me Wanjikũ. A solo piece by Mumbi Kaigwa with music by Andrea Kalima Zawose that explores the complexites of what it means to be a woman in Kenya today.  Kaigwa focuses on the struggle to reclaim and rearticulate our names and our identities.  

 Mtumishi wa Umma/Public Servant.  This piece draws upon Parapanda’s unique style of Swahili-language ensemble theatre that fuses improvisation, dance, music, and drama.  It features poet/performer Mrisho Mpoto in a piece exploring contemporary corruption in medical practice.  THE ARTISTS 

Robert O. Ajwang’ is a musician, dancer, and choreographer from northern Tanzania. He received his early dance education through performing in local ceremonies and rituals and went on to study East African music and dance at the College of Arts in Bagamoyo, Tanzania. Since moving to the U.S. in 1999, he has performed and taught workshops in Georgia, Florida, California, Vermont, and New Hampshire. He has also taught as a guest lecturer at Makerere University in Uganda, and his choreographed version of Malivata was performed at the National Theatre of Uganda in 2004.  He current
ly teaches East African dance at Dartmouth College.


Deborah Asiimwe is an up-and-coming playwright and performer from Uganda. Her recent plays include Appointment with gOD, which was read at California Institute of the Arts in 2007, and Cooking Oil, a production of which is scheduled for 2008 at California Institute of the Arts. Lagoma is Searching, You are that Man, and My Secret all received productions at the Uganda National Cultural Centre/National Theatre. In 2006, she won the award of the overall best student at Makerere University in Uganda where she pursued her Bachelor of Arts degree in Drama. She has participated in many national and international artists’ gatherings, including a Women Playwrights International Conference (WPI) in the Phillipines, where she was appointed a member of WPI advisory committee, the 2003 Sundance Theatre Lab as an international observer, and the Sourcework workshop, held at Towson University (USA) and Warsaw Theatre Academy (Poland) in 2002. Asiimwe is an award winner of a merit scholarship in Writing For Performance at the California Institute of the Arts where she is currently pursuing her Master in Fine Arts (MFA) degree.


Hope Azeda is a leading figure in contemporary Rwandan theatre. She is the director and choreographer of Mashirika Creative and Performing Arts, one of the major theatre companies in Rwanda.  Under her direction, the group collaboratively created Rwanda My Hope, which was performed in Kigali at the 10th anniversary commemoration of the genocide, and also at the G8 World Summit in Edinburgh in 2005.  The play also toured in the UK in 2006.  She has also been an artist-in-residence at the Institute for the Arts and Civic Dialogue in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In addition to her theatre work, she served as a casting director for the films Sometimes in April, Shake Hands with the Devil, and Shooting Dogs.

 Mumbi Kaigwa is an actor, producer, and writer, as well as manager of the day-to-day affairs of The Theatre Company in Nairobi, Kenya.  In March 2003, Mumbi produced and directed Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues as part of the V-Day Worldwide Campaign in Nairobi. The event raised close to a million Kenyan shillings for organisations working to end violence against women and girls in Kenya. In 2005, Mumbi was invited by the Wereld Muziek Theatre Festival to create a new work for their bi-annual festival. The show, KigeziNdoto, toured Holland, Belgium and Italy in 2006 and brought together thirteen performers in a dance, music, and narrative piece celebrating African heroes and providing an African perspective on Kenyan history.  In 2003 Mumbi was awarded Woman of the Year for Music and the Arts by Eve Magazine, and she was President of Women Playwrights International from 2003-2005.    

Mgunga  Mwa Mnyenyelwa co-founded Parapanda Theatre Arts, one of Tanzania’s leading theatre companies, while he was a theatre student at the University of Dar es Salaam.  Under his leadership, Parapanda has become known for its fusion of Swahili storytelling, poetry, music, and dance.  He has toured with the group throughout East Africa, Mozambique, and South Africa.


Mrisho Mpoto is one of Tanzania’s most promising poets. He is also an actor, theatre director, and storyteller. Mrisho Mpoto resides in Dar es Salaam, where he spent many years working with Parapanda Theatre Lab. He has performed widely at festivals throughout Africa, Europe and East Asia.  He is a founding member of the new company, BONGO DSM (Dar es Salaam.) 

 Charles Mulekwa is one of Uganda’s most successful playwrights. In 1998/99, the British Council and the Peggy Ramsay Foundation granted him a joint scholarship for an M.A. in Playwriting at Birmingham University, UK, where he wrote the play A Time of Fire.  The play received its premiere at the Birmingham Rep in 1999. In 2003 he earned a Ford Foundation International Fellowship and joined Brown University, Providence, RI where he is a Ph.D. candidate in Theatre and Performance Studies. In 2005 he served as the Ugandan Consultant to the Director for the film The Last King of Scotland. Currently he is working on his dissertation, Performing the Legacy of War in Uganda. Eva David Nyambe, an actor and storyteller, is a key member of Parapanda Theatre Arts in Tanzania. She was one of four Parapanda members featured in collaboration with S.O.P (Sounds of Progress) in Scotland.  Most recently, she performed in “Bongo Mtoni,” which was performed at the Russian Tanzanian Cultural Center in Dar es Salaam last May. Okello Kelo Sam is the creative direcotr of the Ndere Troupe, an internationally-known dance troupe in Uganda.  He has given workshops throughout Europe and the U.S. on Ugandan dance and music.  A gifted actor, he also played a starring role in a film called Abducted: War Child directed by New York director Robert E. Altman, which seeks to raise awareness about the atrocities in northern Uganda, and he also appeared in The Last King of Scotland. He is also the founder of Hope North, a resettlement center in northern Uganda for victims of the LRA civil war.  As part of his work as a peace activist, he is also collaborating with Robert Ajwang’ and Laura Edmondson on a solo performance piece entitled Forged in Fire, which integrates music, dance, and text to explore Okello’s personal experiences of the civil war in northern Uganda. George Seremba is a playwright and actor from Uganda. He was forced to leave Uganda in 1980, having barely survived a botched execution at the hands of military intelligence, and then moved to neighbouring Kenya where he wrote a number of poems and wrote and directed several one-act plays. His first full-length play was entitled The Grave Will Decide, and was written in Winnipeg during his first year in Canada. His play Come Good Rain debuted at Toronto's Factory Theatre Studio Cafe and has also played in Ottawa, Montreal, Los Angeles, London, Jerusalem and elsewhere; the play also won a Dora Award for Most Outstanding New Play in Toronto. Versions of the play were also broadcast on CBC and BBC radio. His most recent play, Napoleon of the Nile, has had a number of professional rea
dings. Currently living in Dublin, George is a student of The Samuel Beckett Centre in Trinity College, where he is working on his PhD.

Andrea Kalima Zawose is a Tanzanian musician who collaborated with Mumbi Kaigwa and Eric Wainaina on KigeziNdoto.  Recent performances include appearing in the Visa 2 Dance Festival at the Russian Cultural Center in Dar es Salaam.  He is currently a student at the Bagamoyo College of Arts in Tanzania.




Roberta Levitow, Project Co-Director