Ray Phiri will share his music at five festivals – Sakifo on Reunion Island, Azgo in Mozambique, Bushfire in Swaziland and both the Bassline Africa Day concert and Zakifo Festival in South Africa. File picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso/ANA
Johannesburg – Ray Phiri is a thrilling man on and off the stage. The iconic musician gave the audience at his performance at The Orbit a taste of what is to come, as he tours southern Africa as part of the Igoda music festival circuit.

He will share his music at five festivals – Sakifo on Reunion Island, Azgo in Mozambique, Bushfire in Swaziland and both the Bassline Africa Day concert and Zakifo Festival in South Africa. The media were invited to the official line-up announcement of the Zakifo Festival on Thursday in Braamfontein.

Zakifo Festival organisers Sipho Sithole, Jerome Galabert and Andy Davis are bringing together musicians from Jamaica, Belgium, France, Ghana, Niger, Congo, Tanzania, Tanzania, South Africa and Lesotho for a three-day spectacular event.

“Zakifo is in a family of festivals. For us to actually bring value to the artists and audiences you have to be part of a performance circuit,” says Sithole.

Galabert, who runs the Sakifo Festival in Reunion, says he has a strong belief that the artists in the line-up will change the way people see festivals in South Africa.

“There is a great local and international line-up. When we started the festival people thought it would be a one-time show. We have a lot of surprises to announce over the next 10 days.”

Zakifo, now in its third year, will take place from May 26 to 28 at the Blue Lagoon beach promenade in Durban with three stages, a cultural area, food carts and stalls, craft beer bars, local traders and interactive installation art exhibits.

The line-up includes Damian “Jr Gong” Marley, Thandiswa Mazwai, The Soil, Bongeziwe Mabandla and Lu Dlamini.

“We are not apologetic about the type of sound we are bringing. It is for you to be aware of what is out there in the world. There are festivals and artists we have not seen in SA. We suffered from the cultural boycott for a long time,” says Sithole.

Phiri says he is excited to be going through the region with his music. “It’s about time we converge and discover southern Africa through performances, I feel that I’m going to be very happy. I know I’m in good company.”

Mazwai, who is fresh from her performance at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, says she is thrilled to be part of the line-up.

“I went to Jamaica about 10 years ago and met a young Damian Marley recording his album, so I look forward to seeing him at Zakifo. I’ve been going around the world and playing at a lot of festivals, but Zakifo and the whole circuit is bringing an international feel to music festivals so congratulations to everyone involved,” she says.

Early-bird tickets are available until April 24 at Computicket for R550 for the full weekend. Thereafter tickets can be bought from April 25-May 25 for R700 for the full weekend.

Day passes are on sale and tickets will be on sale at the door.

The lineup so far:

Damian “Jr Gong” Marley (USA/ JAM)

Birdy Nam Nam (France)

Ray Phiri (ZA)

Thandiswa Mazwai (ZA)

Petite Noir (ZA)

Baloji (Belguim)

Bombino (NE)

Nova Twins (UK)

Tiggs Da Author(UK)

Gangs of Ballet (ZA)

The Soil (ZA)

Sax Machine(USA/FR)

Kommanda Obbs (Lesotho)

Jojo Abot (Ghana)

Lu Dlamini (ZA)

Bongeziwe Mabandla (ZA)

Easy Freak (ZA)

Jobie Clarke (ZA)

Sunday Independent