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Durban inspiration

What's On - Kwazulu Natal

Latoya Newman

THE Zakifo Musik Festival 2016 launched in Durban last week with a programme boasting some of the finest international and South African musos in the industry.

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Maya Kamaty

The event takes place at the Durban Natal Command site, opposite Battery Beach, on 27 and 28 May with artists from France, Reunion, Mozambique, the US, Mali, Ghana, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and South Africa.

Tonight touched base with Andy Davis, one of the festival organisers/partners at Zakifo (Pty) Ltd.

The Zakifo Fest is a sister festival to the Sakifo Fest which started 13 years ago in Reunion Island.

“Sakifo is Reunion Island’s biggest music festival, attracting between 20 000 to 30 000 people each year on an island with less than a million inhabitants, so it is hugely influential. Beyond that, the line up is culturally relevant: a mix of contemporary pop, rock and reggae artists and the very best African, Francophone, Indian Ocean and World artists.

“Most interestingly, Sakifo has played a crucial role in responding to Reunion Island’s cultural needs and strengthening the island’s creative industries and their export markets, while attracting loads of tourists.

“It was obvious that the concept of a diverse, multi-generational music festival underpinned by an incredibly relevant international, African and local line-up would work exceptionally well in South Africa. The Indian Ocean link made Durban the obvious destination, that and the fact that Durban really needs a strong cultural injection and a big destination festival that appeals to everyone in the city and not the standard old market segments.”

Davis said he first visited Sakifo in 2007 as a journalist and met the founder, Jerome Galabert. “We almost immediately started batting around the idea of bringing the festival to South Africa. I met baba Sipho Sithole, from Native Rhythms, at the Indian Ocean Music Market and Sakifo in 2012 and things just clicked between the three of us, because we all had the same idea of bringing this incredible festival back to Mzansi. It took a bit of time, but in 2015 we managed to deliver our first Zakifo in Durban.”

He said they want to inspire the people of Durban, and South Africa, with a festival that offers something fresh and different. “But at the same time, responding to the cultural and social needs of the city and the country. Zakifo does not obey those old festival rules of having to bring out big American artists to pull crowds, because you can get that content on the radio or the TV and it doesn’t really speak to who we are and what we are facing in our lives as South Africans. The objective of Zakifo is to inspire hope and courage in the people. ‘Zakifo’ in Creole means ‘what you need’.”

This year’s programme has a strong focus on outspoken, innovative, boundary-defying women performers: “South Africa has a horrible story of gender inequality and violence towards women. Dealing with this is one of the most serious issues we face as a people. We want to make sure that in everything we do, as Zakifo, from the artists we put on stage to the team that delivers the festival, women take the lead and create and affirm powerful, successful role models. Not because they are women, but because they are incredible musicians and festival professionals.”

Last year, Zakifo attracted more than 3 500 people a weekend and it is anticipated this figure will increase this year.

Book at www.webtickets.co.za. For more information, and for the detailed programme, visit www.zakifo.com.

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