34th Bagamayo International Festival gets underway in Tanzania

The 34th edition of the annual Bagamoyo International Festival for Arts and Culture is underway at the Bagamoyo Arts and Culture Centre in Tanzania. The festival that kicked off on 21 September is this year held on the theme 'Arts and Culture for free and peaceful elections'. It is a great move by the festival to reflect on the arts and their influence on serious issues such as politics as Tanzania prepares for the general election to be held in October.  

Traditional music dancers perform at Bagamoyo festival. Photo: Bagamoyo Twitter page.
Traditional music dancers perform at Bagamoyo festival. Photo: Bagamoyo Twitter page.

The festival will run till 27 September and will feature traditional dance and music performances, acrobatic displays, hip hop, reggae and bongo-flava stars rocking the house. Drama, art and sculpture exhibitions are some of the other forms of art that will be celebrated at the annual fete.  Festival goers will also be able to learn about human rights, arts and politics through specialized discussion sessions that are being held in line with the festival.

Lined up for musical performances are The Fusion Sound Band, Cocodo Music Band, Diaz Man, Mautam Band, Mandoo Group, Black Tofauti, Afrikwangu Band, DAR Creators,  Aba-Bongo Band, Seven Survival, Kusaja Group and the Tunaweza Band. Student music choirs along professional ones will provide an exciting music to the festival goers.

Among many other objectives, the festival seeks to develop and maintain Tanzanian culture while sharing experiences in the area of arts and culture development. By bringing different artists the festival hopes that festival goers are able to enjoy the various forms of art while learning from artists and groups in Tanzania and other countries through various workshops and presentations.

As Tanzania prepares for the general elections in October 2015, there have been fears over a rise in 'witchcraft' attacks against people living with albinism. The festival has towards this end organized a series of discussions on various topics including elimination of albino killings, human rights and corruption.

It is an opportune moment for festival goers through the various discussions to reflect on the role of the arts as a provider of thought-provoking commentary and innovative perspectives on a vast array of global ideas including politics. As Tanzanian elections draw near, the country has witnessed various music artists compose songs in favor of certain candidates contesting in the elections. These according to various media outlets threaten the artists’ career. 



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