Tuesday 29 September 2020

Nowruz Traditions In Afghanistan

Kabul (BNA) Celebration of ancient Nowruz festival in Afghanistan has a long and rich historical background. Every year, the Afghan people celebrate the beautiful Nowruz festival with special tradition, especial culture across Afghanistan with particular magnificence, specially, in capital Kabul and Balkh provinces.

Nowruz festival is celebrated in many countries with different religious and traditions. Since the beginning of March the Afghan people start to welcome spring and Nowruz with house sweeping, painting of rooms and purchasing of new commodities.

Even in rural remote areas and central provinces whose inhabitants have not been familiar with urban life, before the advent of spring, rural collect white or red color clay from mountain slops and paint their mud houses.

On the first day of New Year, people wear new cloth similar to the color of nature, forests and mountains, but excitement of New Year festival in Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif cities is indescribable. The northern Mazar-i-Sharif city gets a different situation every year  with approach of spring and rose flower festival and becomes and welcome ready to host thousands passengers from throughout Afghanistan neighboring and European countries.

Shrine of Hazrat-e-Ali (MGBPWH) in Mazar-i-Sharif has given this peculiarity to this city that its traditional, cultural ceremonies get universal reputation and popularity.

On the New Year’s Day, thousands people gather in Rawza Shrine and Nowru festival is started officially with hoisting of flag.

Similar function is organized in Kabul among thousands participants in Sakhi Shrine as well as in other parts of the capital like Khawja Safa, Shah Shaheed, Karaz-e-Mir, Istalif etc. the shopkeepers of Kabul central market (Mandavi) gather in Nowruz and hoist a flag called “Togh”, distribute candy and pray at the court of Allah the Almighty for peace and prosperity of the country.

Two or three days prior to New Year social cultures and tradition taken further speed. On night before the Nowruz, which is called as the night of desire, people cook sweet meat and distribute to neighbors, then go to graveyards of their deceased relatives. Most people cook Palaw and meat while vegetable is a must. People use local vegetables.

Haft Seen and Haft Meywah:

During reducing of New Year, beside Haft seen and holy Quran, one big loaf of bread, one cup of water, one cup of rose flower, Samanak, candy white cock, fish, Yogurt, honey, mirror, candle, milk, cheese and painted eggs are served.

Haft seen consists of garlic, Vinegar, grass, sorb, Samanak, apple. Later people recite seven verses from holy Quran which start with (S) and then pray all together with family members. Haft seen is mixed with water at least 24 hours prior to advent of New Year. People also mix red and green raisins, sorb, walnut, dried apricot, pistachio, almond etc and serve them to visiting friends or guests with cake Nowruz festival last 13 days in Herat while 40 days in Kabul and Balkh.

Farmer’s festival:

Afghanistan is a mountainous and agricultural country as the main source of its people income is from this sector. Farmers celebrate Nowruz with particular traditions with the participation of government officials with diverse artistic programs. Peasants make a parade and display their traditional instrument, including shovel, spade, sickle, yoke, etc. farmers paint horns and sides of their oxen. People both rurals and urbans welcome spring and take it as a good omen and believe it as a national culture.


Despite of being an accepted social culture, unfortunately this tradition has been fading today. People clean quantity of wheat put it in a tray and put it for few days. But everyday take care of it and add some water until it matures. Then cut it to small pieces and grind it. Then infiltrate it with a clean fabric.

Then put it in a big pot and stire for several hours to become ready.

Next day they open it. During stirring, young girls sing special song of Samanak which is a traditional song and popular among people.

Young girls put their rings into a dish of eater and take omen.

The night of Samanak cooking is a real festival for young girls and women.

Rose flower festival:

In Afghanistan talking on advent of spring or New Year festival immediately associates rose flower festival which is usually celebrated in Mazar-i-Sharif ancient city. Mazar-i-Sharif becomes red with the intention and strongest hands of Allah the Almighty.

During New Year’s days, Tulip grows everywhere in deserts, valleys, mountain slopes and even on top roofs and mud walls and nature takes another shape. People take refuge to colorful tablecloth of nature and enjoy. Thus rose flower festival has been changed to an acceptable social, cultural tradition of our people and due to this reason, Mazar spring has gained global fame.

The rose flower is called as corn-rose in Iran. Children specially enjoy this festival with different entertainments.

•By Massouda Qarizada

•Culled from www.bakhtarnews.com.af

Saturday 26 September 2020

Zimbabwe Festivals


Africa is brimming with artistic talent and Zimbabwe has its own share of brilliant singers, dancers, poets among other types of performing artists. It is no wonder the arts are often are celebrated in various festivals across the country.  Here is our pick of some cool festivals you can look out for when you visit.

Victoria Falls Carnival:

The Victoria Falls Carnival is one of the most popular Arts showcases in the country. Held annually in December in the sunny resort town of Victoria Falls; the carnival is a double delight as visitors will get to see one of the most beautiful places in Zimbabwe and will be entertained by awesome musical talent. The carnival brings together local talent as notable artistes from across the continent. The event is a fun-filled ‘three days of non-stop entertainment with Africa’s biggest’. Join them as you party your way into the New Year this December.

HIFA - Harare International Festival of The Arts:

The Harare International Festival of the Arts was started in 1999, the festival has grown significantly since then and it is now a highly anticipated extravaganza which brings together talent from several nations, organisations and different races and cultures to celebrate the arts. The festival is spread over 6 days and is open to all ages; it offers various live performances (of theatre, dance, music, circus, street performance, fashion, spoken word and visual arts) as well as workshops for Festival promoters, students, and young people and so on. There is something for everyone at HIFA and the festival is better every year as they bring in more variety.

Zimbabwe Fashion Week:

The Zimbabwe Fashion Week is an annual showcase which celebrates beauty, clothing and fashion in its various forms.  The event was launched by Priscilla Chigariro-Gessen, (an accomplished model & entrepreneur) in October 2009. The project aims to provide a platform for Zimbabwean designers to showcase their creations. The Zimbabwe Fashion week is an amazing convergence of culture, talent, ideas and colour as established designers rub shoulders with budding artistes. They also host some workshops to increase knowledge.

Zimbabwe International Film Festival:

The Zimbabwe International Film Festival is an annual visual arts showcase which brings together filmmakers, scriptwriters, actors, film sponsors and documentary creators as well as visual media specialists from around the country as well as other countries. The event seeks to encourage African content creators to step forward, expose young people to the industry as well as to showcase some smaller works which are not widely known in the country. The Zimbabwe International Film Festival ‘showcases dozens of feature films, short films and documentaries made by and about Africans.’

Shoko Festival:

The Shoko festival was launched in 2011. It is a festival that features Live Concerts, DJ Parties, Comedy and Poetry. The event celebrates homegrown, local talent; it is dubbed as Zimbabwe's biggest festival of urban culture. The festival is run over several days and shows take place at various Harare locations over the period. 

•By Vanessa Gambaga

•Culled from www.myguidezimbabwe.com

Thursday 24 September 2020

Zambia-Ncwala: A Traditional Ritual of Thanksgiving

The Ngoni people are one of the many ethnic groups living in Zambia. Just before spring, they gather to celebrate the Ncwala annual ceremony. This is a meeting of fraternity during which a glorious past and the pride of being Ngoni are celebrated.

It  is a sunny day in the area of Chipata, in the eastern region of Zambia. It is a good omen, especially in the rainy season, when for weeks, the sky is covered by clouds. This day is a great day among the Ngoni tribe, a warlike people of Zulu origin, now living in Zambia and Malawi. On this day, in fact, they celebrate the traditional ritual of thanksgiving called Ncwala. The traffic on the main road that links Chipata to the capital of Zambia, Lusaka, is heavier than usual due to the dozens of trucks and buses, which are packed with people, heading to  Mtenguleni. People of all ages are gathering from every corner of Zambia and the neighbouring countries to enjoy this national holiday.

At about eleven o’clock in the morning there is a huge crowd around the square of Mtenguleni where groups of warriors, holding shields and spears, dance and shout the way their ancestors used to do in the past to frighten enemies before battles. The Inkosi Ya Makosi  (the supreme chief) arrives after the warriors’ performance. All the dignitaries of the tribe, who are dressed like him, in their traditional attire, escort him. The Inkosi, who will seat at the arena where the ritual  is held, distinguishes himself by his feather hat.

The Slaughter of the Bull:

After the introduction of the several personalities attending the event, the Ngoni ceremony begins. One by one, the warrior groups enter the arena, performing typical war dances and songs. What predominates is not the colour or variety of their clothes, but the sense of force, almost ‘aggressiveness’ the performers are able to express. Some women join the men in the dance. Some groups arrive with their children who are the symbol of the future followers of an ancient tradition which was restored only in 1980, after it had been prohibited for a long period. After the dance, while some warriors make a fire, some others drag a bull into the arena for the performance of the ritual sacrifice.

An elderly chief pierces the heart of the bull with a spear. Tradition dictates that the animal must die of just one stroke, as a signal that its sacrifice has been accepted by the ancestors’ spirits. The warriors use wood bowls to collect the blood of the bull, which is offered, to the lnkosi first, along with the first piece of bull meat which is roasted without salt. The fight between the different groups attending the ceremony, to get pieces of the bull meat, concludes the ritual. The fight is real and some participants get wounded. The drinking, eating and dancing go on late into the night.

Revision And Penance:

The Ncwala is the final act after a whole week dedicated to revision, penance and thanking. At the beginning of the week, the Inkosi Ya Makosi and the several tribe leaders gather in Mtenguleni to offer the divinity and the spirits of the ancestors the first fruits of the harvest and to thank them for their protection. On Monday evening some elders collect the offerings in a basket and put them under the branches of the msoro, the great sacred tree located at the entrance of the village. Then one of the elders, on behalf of all the Ngoni people, says a prayer to  the ancestors asking for forgiveness of the sins committed by the tribe throughout the year and to thank them for the cattle and the fertility of the land. Then, the tribe leaders along with all the other people celebrate with a feast the end of the months of shortages. The following days are dedicated to a detailed review of the events of the year.

Each chief presents the Inkosi with a detailed report of the events that occurred during the year and of the current situation in his area.

An old man who acts as a priest says prayers of thanks, request and repentance. The Inkosi and the other leaders accordingly plan measures to improve the living conditions of the people during the new year. At that meeting, the leaders also decide upon the kind and amount of the aid which the more fortunate Ngoni are supposed to give to their brothers in difficulty.

The ‘great week’ is also an opportunity for the people to demand leaders’ accounts for their actions. People on this occasion are also entitled to present before the Great Chief and his Council eventual complaints about local chiefs’ conduct. If it is proven that the accused has acted unfairly, he will be submitted to punishment.

Occasionally, it may happen that leaders who have abused their authority or who have not complied with their obligations are removed to ensure the well-being of the people. The fear of this annual review makes many tribe chiefs act carefully when it comes to govern their people. The Ngoni people, who lost much of their identity, including their language, when they mixed with the Chewa people, are proud of their traditions and try hard to keep them alive and pass them on to their descendants. (F.C.)

•Culled from www.southworld.net

Wednesday 23 September 2020

LIST: 15 of the Best Festivals in Uganda You Should Never Miss Attending 

'Parte after Parte’, I think you can only find it in Uganda were almost every weekend there is a party, concert, event or festival happening.

The city never sleeps on weekend, currently we have almost 30 festival in the country, ranging from food related festivals, music, film, dance, cultural among others.

Watchdog Uganda has listed some of the biggest festivals in the country currently.

1. Royal Ascot Goat Races:

The Royal Ascot Goat Races, held at the Speke Resort on the shores of Lake Victoria, have been an annual Kampala tradition since 1993. It’s arguably the biggest event on the Ugandan social calendar.

Organised by Ruparelia Group, the goat races entail eight races over the course of the day, each race featuring eight goats.

Spectators can also bet on goats through a preliminary parade around the track and a bettors’ guide that describes each goat, spectators can gauge possible winners. Proceeds from betting go to local charities. Along with goat races, there are hospitality and food tents as well as children’s amusements.

The networking and fun-filled event brings together Kampala partygoers-majorly from the high social class.

2.Twins festival:

Organised by Vision Group, the Twins festival is one of the biggest annual events, possibly because of the turn up it receives annually, this event usually takes place at Namboole Stadium and recently held its sixth edition that was also a great success.

3. Nyege Nyege festival:

This is arguably the biggest music festival in East Africa, Nyege Nyege is a four-day music celebration that sees party people from across the continent. According to Nyege Nyege founder, this event stands for Peace, Love and abundant joy for underground music and musicians in Africa. The festival recently held its fifth edition at their usual venue ‘Nile Discovery Beach’ Jinja.

4. Pizza Festival:

Have you or do you want to taste various and unique Pizza recipes from local foods like Matooke Pizza, Nsenene Pizza, Egg Pizza, Irish Pizza, Lumonde Pizza! Well this festival is for you. Possibly because of the new recipes and art that they put in Pizza preparations, this festival has managed to be in existence for over two years now, and it always receives an overwhelming attendance.

5. Dragon boat Festival:

This concept was adopted from China, and in Uganda, the Dragon Boat Festival has been held for three years now. It always attracts more tourist from China and usually happens at Forest Park Resort Buloba, as revelers gather compete in Boat races.

6.Ice-cream and cake festival:

For three years now, the annual Ice cream and cake festival has always attracted a big attendance. This event brings together all local ice cream and cake producers, sellers, lover’s distributors, among others in one place. The event mainly features cake tasting, Cake display, meet the suppliers, cake eaters, cookies, bread among other stuff. It usually happens at Uganda Museum.

7. Green Festival:

Fun with purpose! The Green festival is an annual celebration of children’s efforts in conserving their environment. Organised by Uganda’s Little Hands Go Green and My Kid is a Superstar, the festival blends fun and entertainment with Environment conservation education for the children.

The fun-filled event is always a day to remember for the superstar kids.

8. Rolex Festival:

Rolex is simply a combination of chapatti and eggs, but it was recently ranked the number one fast growing food in Uganda by CNN. And this explains why the Rolex festival is one of the biggest festivals in Uganda. Organised by Rolex Initiative Uganda, this event brings together uptown restaurants to showcase the different styles of preparing a Rolex, this is usually accompanied by entertainments, games among others.

9. Foodie Festival:

Recently, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) in partnership with My Food Network hosted the first ever street food festival and promised that it will be an annual event, this event is aimed at giving people a feel of dinning on the streets. It first edition happened at Parliamentary Avenue.

10. Nsenene and Wine festival:

According to the organizers of this event, the Nsenene and Wine fest is aimed at promoting food tourism. And their 2019 edition shall be happening on November 10 at Uganda National Museum gardens. Revealers are treated with Samosa Nsenene, Burger Nsenene, Pancake Nsenene, Beef Nsenene, and Chicken Nsenene among others.

11. Muchomo festival:

Meat lovers are always treated with different kinds of meat of their choice like Beef, chicken, mutton, pork, crocodile meat among others at this festival. And in 2019, it celebrated its fifth edition in an event that received a very big attendance.

12. Oktober festival:

This festival is particularly organised for beer lovers, organised by Kampala Food Network, this annual event shall be returning for its third edition at the Uganda Museum Garden on October 5th, 2019. And apart from beer, there is always a lineup of entertainments, food, cocktails among other stuffs.

13. Uganda Film festival:

This festival helps to showcase what is happening in the local film industry, this is aimed at promoting, publicity, building relations and popularizing of Ugandan’s film industry on both locally and internationally scenes.

Other festivals include Green Festival, Fish festival, Nsenene Pizza Festival, among others.

14. Pork Festival:

Just like the ice cream and cake lovers, the Pork Festival also brings Pork lovers together to enjoy the meat in different styles. There is always Pork Luwombo, Pork Rolex, grilled, smoked, fired among other. It’s alleged that at this event parties eat over 3000kgs of pork.

15. Fish Festival:

For all fish lovers, this is always the best place to be. The event has two versions;- Entebbe Fish Festival held at Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) in Entebbe and Jinja Fish Festival held in the Eastern region of Uganda.

From fish exhibitions, to school and corporate quizzes, live band, music performances, cooks offs, and fish tasting among other activities. Revelers always have a lot to engage in.

At the fest, you can explore which fish comes from Lake Victoria including the popular Nile perch which currently is the fish fetching the highest foreign exchange towards Uganda’s economy. Besides that, the ways fish is prepared seem endless: get inspired for your own kitchen at home and try something new at the festival!

Not only does the Nile perch contribute towards the Uganda’s foreign exchange, but together with other fish species including silver fish (Mukene), are generally considered a very healthy food being rich in protein, omega-3, fat acids and micro nutrients and therefore a valuable contribution to your diet.

•By Allen Kisakye

•Culled from www.watchdoguganda.com

Monday 21 September 2020

Western Sahara: The Wall That Nobody Talks About

The 2,720 kilometre wall, which  separates the areas occupied by Morocco and those liberated by the Polisario Front in Western Sahara, is actually the largest active military barrier in the world,  and the second longest wall after the Great Wall of China.

One can observe the wall only from the mandatory safety distance of five kilometres, imposed by a mine field. From that distance, the barrier, which separates the Polisario-controlled areas from those occupied by Morocco, looks like a large mound of sand in the middle of the desert. This 2,720 kilometre military wall, is the largest active military barrier in the world and the second longest on the planet, exceeded only by the Great Wall of China (21,196 km); and yet it has remained practically invisible to the outside world.

At a time when the current president of the USA, Donald Trump, has made talk of building walls to secure borders become fashionable, by calling for the expansion and improvement of the already existing wall at the U.S.-Mexico border (1,123 km), it is worth comparing the barrier dividing Western Sahara with the 819 km long Israeli West Bank barrier;  with the wall built between Pakistan and India which is  about 750 km long; and the one that divides the two Koreas whose length is 248 kilometres;  the 12 km-long Melilla fence; that of Ceuta which extends 8 km, and the historic Berlin Wall that was 155 kilometres long.

The Western Sahara wall is not a linear construction, but a succession of six barriers built between 1980 and 1987, during the war between the Polisario Front and Morocco, after the Alawite occupation – with the Green March, in 1975 -, and  the definitive withdrawal of Spain from its province number 53, a year later.

A Suggestion From ​​Israel:

“By 1979, when Mauritania withdrew from the conflict, the Polisario Front had been able to recuperate 80% of the Sahrawi territory. The end of the 1970s was marked by intense fighting between Moroccan forces and the Sahrawi army. During those confrontations, the Moroccan forces, despite their superiority in numbers and military power, had many military defeats. Israeli military advisers suggested to King Hassan II of Morocco  that the country change strategy, moving from offensive to defensive tactics in order to stop the attacks of the Sahrawi army, and to protect  the so-called “useful triangle” which includes the cities of El Aaiún, important for its fish catch, Bu Craa, for its phosphate mines,  Esmara along with the south point of Dakhla, also important for their fish catch.

King Hassan II of Morocco therefore ordered the construction of a huge line of defensive walls whose construction lasted seven years. “Morocco is the closest Arab country to Israel in history” says Mohamed Uleida, director of the National Resistance Museum, located in the Saharawi refugee camps in Tinduf (Algeria).

Tiba Chagaf, co-founder of the youth platform “Cries against the Moroccan wall”,  describes the physical structure:“The wall is a series of sand and stone walls of two to three meters high; it extends along topographic high points (such as peaks and mountains) throughout the Sahrawi territory. It is protected by bunkers, ditches, trenches, barbed wire, mines and electronic detection systems and defended by more than 150,000 Moroccan soldiers.

Every 5 kilometres of the wall, there is a military base of about 100 Moroccan soldiers. About four kilometres behind each major observation post, there is a mobile rapid intervention force (with armoured vehicles, tanks, etc.) A series of overlapping fixed and mobile radars, with a range of 60 to 80 km, are placed along the wall.”

According to  Mohamed Uleida,: “Morocco spends 3.5 million Euro daily to maintain the wall, since every five kilometres there is a base with two guard posts, on the right and on the left, with radar that has a range of about 60 kilometres, and between each of these bases, there is another military sub-base, in addition to 240 heavy artillery batteries and 20,000 kilometres of barbed wire. The money needed for the wall derives from three main sources: first of all, from the generous help of the Saudis and the Gulf monarchies; second, from the exploitation of Saharawi territory, from the phosphates exported to USA and fish to Europe; and the third, the millions of Euro that Morocco receives from Europe, under the pretext of combatting illegal immigration ”. 

Phosphate being processed at facilities operated by Morocco’s state-owned OCP, near Laayoune, capital of Western Sahara.

According to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), which  is a global network in some 70 countries dedicated to putting an end to the suffering caused by antipersonnel landmines and cluster bombs, Western Sahara is one  of the ten most mined areas in the world.

Malainin Mohamed Brahim, director of the Sahrawi Mine Action Coordination Office (SMACO) estimates that the fortified sand wall is lined with over seven million mines. “It’s impossible to calculate exactly the total number of mines that infest the entire area, because there are many of them also in the occupied areas and Morocco does not allow international organizations to enter there. We can only estimate the number  of mines surrounding the wall, which is between 7 and 10 million mines of different types: anti-tank, anti-personnel mines, unexploited shells, and cluster bombs and fragmentation, the latter being the result of aerial bombings. There is an estimated 40 million in the rest of the territory. In early 2019, the Polisario Front destroyed, in the presence of UN representatives, 2,500 anti-personnel and antitank mines, collected in the liberated territories of Western Sahara.

Thousands Of Dead:

According to ICBL, since 1975, more than 2,500 people have been killed by landmines in Western Sahara. The United Nations Mine Action (UNMAS) team estimates that 80% of the victims are civilians. “We have conducted a census which, though it only includes survivors, shows that the number of victims of landmines has reached 1,700 people.

We do not have figures on fatalities, but we think that the number of 2,500 dead, estimated by ICBL is correct , ” says Aziz Haidar, president of ASAVIM, the Saharawi Association of Landmine Victims, who had both legs amputated after a landmine explosion in 1979. Aziz adds: «ASAVIM has helped more than 600 people by providing crutches, prostheses, wheelchairs, medicines, beds for paralyzed people or financial aid to start small cooperatives or businesses”. “Due to their nomadic lifestyle, Bedouins and their herds of camels are those more affected by mines. Besides, victims increase during the rainy season because there is plenty of grazing land in proximity to the wall. Not only the Saharawi shepherds take their herds to graze in the liberated territories, but also shepherds from neighbouring Mauritania, because there are not such good pastures there, ”says Malainin, director of SMACO.

Not Just A Physical Separation:

The physical barrier represented by the wall also involves other types of less visible separations. «The structure divides a people, the majority of which lives under Moroccan occupation – forty percent of the population of El Aaiún, and twenty percent of that of Dajla is Saharawi.  As a matter of fact there is a strategy planned in order to eliminate the Saharawi identity. For example, there is not a single university in the occupied territories, and the Saharawi have to go to Morocco to study.

The Hassania dialect is disappearing as well as our traditional clothing. The Saharawi people are victims of constant cultural plundering. We are children of the clouds. Our culture is transmitted orally.  Landmines endanger the traditional Saharawi lifestyle linked to the desert and prevent divided Sahrawi families from transmitting to their children the traditions and cultural values of their society.  Our grandfathers are our library, when they leave us we lose our “oral books” and therefore our culture and identity forever, ” laments Tiba Chagaf, co-founder of the Cries Against the Wall platform.

Malainin Mohamed Brahim, director of SMACO, underlines: «The wall deprives us of our natural wealth and a decent standard of living. We have lived for 43 years in refugee camps and we survive thanks to international aid, though our territory is one of the richest in the world.

The wall has also an environmental impact on the area, in fact, the construction of the wall and the infrastructures that it contains have led to profound changes in the surface of the land that has become more vulnerable to wind erosion and water stagnation.

Due to its structure, the wall acts as a barrier to the flow of water into the areas southeast of the wall. This situation has increased desertification in those areas and hinders agriculture, while on the other side of the barrier there is fertile land.”

“The wall also transforms the occupied territories into a large prison.

This situation has contributed to aggravating the sense of isolation, alienation and vulnerability among Sahrawi population in those areas. War can’t end with the wall still standing”, concludes the president of ASAVIM, Aziz Haidar.

•By Eugenio G. Delgado

•Culled from www.southworld.net

Sunday 20 September 2020

5 modern-day African Festivals

Africa is known for some amazing traditional festivals that showcase the rich and diverse cultures found across the continent. But it is also home to a growing number of modern-day festivals, created in the current era and celebrating the vibrancy of music and arts in Africa now. In this blog, we are taking a look at some of the continent’s best modern-day festivals.

Lake of Stars, Malawi

This three-day music and culture experience, hosted at the end of September, sees over 5000 festivalgoers coming to the shores of Lake Malawi. For visitors looking for more than African wildlife safaris, Lake of Stars festival has continued to act as a beacon for Malawi’s unique cultural and natural attractions, drawing in ever more visitors and gaining a huge amount of international exposure.

Lake of Stars plays a pivotal role in helping local artists showcase their talent alongside acts from Europe and North America. While traditional music and dance are represented at the festival, the main focus is on the contemporary. With the likes of Malawian hip-hop, singer-songwriters, Afro-pop and psychedelic gospel, Lake of Stars caters to everyone’s interests, which is why this festival goes from strength to strength and has recently celebrated its 15th year.

“This festival is about changing perceptions.” 

MTN Bushfire, Eswatini

Bushfire festival, named as BBC’s Top African Festival, is held in the last weekend of May and draws a multi-generational global community of up to 20,000 to the scenic Malkerns Valley to experience an eclectic Pan-African and international line-up of live music, theatre, poetry, film, circus, dance and visual arts. A vibrant handcraft market, family-friendly performances & Kid Zone as well as the newly introduced interactive art and dialogue space, create a truly diverse & magical three-day entertainment experience.

Spread over three days, the festival can sometime feels like three different festivals, starting with Friday introducing lesser-known folk and traditional bands. The Saturday offering stadium-like concerts with radio-friendly songs, and Sunday’s day festival bringing the big names that appeal across many generations.

Natron 100, Tanzania

Every November, this unique three-day, two-night festival unfolds in the amazing sand dunes of Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania. A celebration of nature, culture and adventure, this festival offers much more than just music – a gastronomic thrill with signature cocktails and free-flowing wine, adventure, and good music.

There are only 100 tickets available, and the festival wristbands are handmade by the local Maasai women. This wristband gives you access to free activities during the weekend, including rock climbing, waterfall hikes, and viewing flamingos and fossilised footprints. In addition to free activities, guests also get free wine, beer, evening meals, and a brunch on the last day of the festival.

The Nile River Festival, Uganda

If it’s thrill and excitement that you look for in an event, welcome to Africa’s largest and longest running white water festival. This four-day event, taking place in January makes the most of some of the biggest rapids in the world and celebrates all that the River Nile has to offer. This festival attracts some of the best kayakers from all over the globe to compete for the champion title. 

This year, the festival and its guests saw the introduction of the mountain biking race as well, and the first ever freestyle white water rafting event. It is still a festival so the likes of the obligatory parties, live music and general festival vibes are also very present.

With the imminent Isimba dam already well under way; the last few years of Nile River Festival are rapidly approaching. So be sure to get yourself to Uganda to enjoy this unique event before it’s too late.

Livingstone Cultural Festival, Zambia

April is a great time to visit Zambia. Not only is the Victoria Falls at its fullest, but the Livingstone International Cultural Arts Festival is held – celebrating its 5th year in 2019. Held during the Freedom Day long weekend, visitors have the opportunity to indulge in traditional cuisine and celebrate Zambian culture. Visitors experience the power of African music and culture at the annual event that showcases the best Zambia has to offer. From music, art, to thrilling adventure activities like bungee jumping and helicopter rides, this festival truly is the epitome of Zambian culture.

And if that wasn’t enough, there may even be a chance to see a lunar rainbow over the Vitoria Falls. So, whether you’re a foodie, thrill seeker, or a culture vulture, there is something for everyone at Livingstone International Cultural Arts Festival.

•By Kelly White

•Culled from www.aluxurytravelblog.com

Uganda’s Festivals – Seven of the Best

Attending a festival is a great way to get to know about Uganda’s culture and mingle with the locals, making new friends and business contacts.  If you travel to Kampala or other Ugandan cities on business, make sure you check to see if any festivals are taking place during your trip so that you don’t miss out on any of the fab entertainment.  Here are some of the festivals to look out for:

Festival on the Nile (August) 

Featuring music, dancing, theatre, storytelling, folklore and food.  There is a street parade of children’s activities and dance workshops offering visitors and residents alike the opportunity to learn about Uganda’s tribes and customs.

This is Uganda (December) 

An annual festival showcasing the diverse cultures in Uganda through music, art, poetry and dance with a particular emphasis on female artists.  It takes place in December and promotes the rights and education of women.

Kampala City Festival (October) 

An annual event to promote Ugandan culture, featuring street parades and marches, live music, and a national dress competition.

Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo (October)

An exhibition aimed at raising the profile of Uganda as a destination for domestic and international travellers, this is a popular platform for tour operators to network and do business. 

Amakula Kampala International Film Festival (September – end of November) 

A “travelling” festival celebrating films old and new that feature themes of independence, offering workshops on film and soundtracks training.

Bayimba International Festival of Music and Arts (August)

A three day celebration at the Uganda National Theatre in Kampala focusing on arts and culture in Uganda.  This is a must for anybody who wants to learn more about the music and art scene, bringing together music, film, dance, theatre and visual arts, promoting artists from Uganda and other East African Countries.

Nile Jazz Safari (October) 

This one day event attracts jazz musicians from around the world as they celebrate and jam with a growing audience of Ugandan jazz lovers.

•Culled from www.travelcare.ug

Saturday 12 September 2020

The Queen Mother Osun: Photo Shoot of the Actors

After shooting Osun Promo in Oshogbo, Osun State of Nigeria, the actors had fun having photo shoot. And the following photographs say it all. See all the characters involved in the Promo in pics.

The Cast and Group photograph © Olalekan Oduntan

Ikudayisi and the Amotekuns © Olalekan Oduntan

The group photograph © Olalekan Oduntan

Amotekun and Ododo © Olalekan Oduntan

Amotekun © Olalekan Oduntan

Amotekun © Olalekan Oduntan

Osun, Ikudayisi, the Priest and Amotekun
© Olalekan Oduntan

Amotekun and Osun © Olalekan Oduntan

Osun, Ikudayisi, Ododo and Amotekun © Olalekan Oduntan

Osun, Ikudayisi, Ododo and Amotekun © Olalekan Oduntan

Amotekun, the Producer and a villager © Olalekan Oduntan

The Group photograph © Olalekan Oduntan

The Group photograph © Olalekan Oduntan

The story telling scene photo © Olalekan Oduntan

Osun The Queen Mother © Olalekan Oduntan

Osun The Queen Mother © Olalekan Oduntan

Osun, Ikudayisi, the Priest and Amotekun
 © Olalekan Oduntan

Osun, the Producer and Ikudayisi
© Olalekan Oduntan

Osun and Ikudayisi © Olalekan Oduntan

Two villagers, Osun and the Producer
© Olalekan Oduntan

The Group photograph © Olalekan Oduntan

Ikudayisi and the two Amotekuns
© Olalekan Oduntan

Copyrights © Olalekan Oduntan 2020

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