Well, this seems to be developing into a regular feature here on the blog and I'm not mad- dope stuff to get into on the continent. This week: African festivals. That's clearly a huge topic and there is so so much to see in these 54 countries of ours, but there you go. Tweet me or comment below if there's one on your list that I haven't talked about.
1. Lake of Stars (Lake Malawi, Malawi)
Held at a different shore of the ocean-like lake each year in May (although I hear they'll be on a break for 2017), this festival is an easy pick mainly for the stunning backdrop of Lake Malawi.
2. Sauti za Busara (Zanzibar, Tanzania)
This one I've been home in Kenya twice in the past few years and thus close enough to hop on a 1-hour flight but haven't had my sh*t together. Good one, Julie. This celebration of music, art and drama (whose name translates to Sounds of Wisdom in Kiswahili) happens every February in the magical old Stone Town area of Zanzibar.
3. Chale Wote Street Art Festival (Accra, Ghana)
I hardly even know where to start with this one- live and installation art, films, fashion and just the most bold and carefree photos I've been witness to in the past few years.
The FOMO is real and so is my intention to be there soon. Every August. Usually.
4. Nyege Nyege (Jinja, Uganda)
This one is quite a newbie on the circuit, with I believe only two editions under their belt but the good, clean, healing vibes of the Nile are present and I'm here for it.
Looking forward to 2017!
5. Bushfire (Malkerns Valley, Swaziland)
Like many of the festivals on this list, much of the reason I'm interested in them has to do with the places they light u, and I'm dying to go to Swaziland before I'm done living in the South.
Bushfire is one of the biggest music and arts celebrations on the continent which maintains its focus of raising funds and awareness for some of the country's biggest issues. Goes down in May of every year.
6. Afropunk (Johannesburg, South Africa)
Yup, it's true, Afropunk is bringing it to the motherland in 2017 with roots in Brooklyn celebrating all that are called too weird, too punk, too different (even too white! ugh) in the black community. Since then it's seen success in Atlanta, Georgia and Paris, France and I can't wait to see what Joburg does with it. I'm in.
7. Vic Falls Carnival (Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe)
This here is the only NYE festival on my list for the moment (although Nyege Nyege have had one New Year's edition in the past). Partying can start on an overland journey from Johannesburg or Cape Town to the falls if you like, or you can go straight there and set up camp to watch some pretty major acts from the region including the likes of Goodluck, Sketchy Bongo and Locnville.
Once there you can party on the ground, on river cruises, in a gorge, the works. Major celebrations for the major setting. Into it.
Honourable mentions: Rocking the Daisies (I've actually been to this one, it would be nice to check it out again after 3+ years), Lamu Yoga Festival (the name says it all) and the restoration of the Great Mosque in Djenne, Mali (architecture nerd things, don't mind me).
It is absolutely my aim to experience all of these at one point or another, maybe even a couple this year. With them visa struggles slowly being banished (Benin, Ghana, we see you brethren!) and my frequent prayers that the airfare around the continent shall fall, I'm hopeful.