The Mangaung African Cultural Festival (MACUFE) was launched in 1997 before an audience of 30 000. It now attracts over 140 000 people from all over the world. The organisers' aim is nothing less than to establish the festival as the biggest, most culturally balanced showcase of African arts and culture in the world. Now in its 18th year, Macufe has just kicked off and runs until next week, Sunday 11 October. It offers an incredible line-up of music (not to mention comedy, sports and plenty more) at various locations in the city of Bloemfontein, South Africa.
As usual, there’s something for everyone at this year’s Macufe, and tickets are sold based on the individual event you’re interested in seeing. The music on offer at this year’s festival has been broken down into separate concerts, all taking place The Dome at Old Greys. Things kick off on Friday 2 October with the Tshepe Hip-Hop concert featuring AKA, Anatii, HHP and ‘new age kwaito’ act Major League DJs, made up of brothers Bandile and Banele Mbere, still riding high on the success of ‘Slyza Tsotsi’ ft Cassper Nyovest, Riky Rick, Okmalumkoolkat and Carpo.
On Sunday 4 October it’s the Macufe Gospel Concert. It features the likes of Benjamin Dube, Conny Lamola,Tshepiso, Israel Mosehla, Teboho & Friends, and Sfiso Ncwane, who of late has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Next it’s the turn of the Macufe Indoor Jazz fest, taking place on Thursday 8 October. It features international headliners like Cuba's leading son group, Sierra Maestra. Celebrating 35 years together, they recently released a new album, Sonanda Ya, which was nominated for a Latin Grammy. Also on the bill are Grammy-nominated, chart-topping smooth jazz saxophonist Dave Koz (USA), celebrating 25 years since his debut album, and Nigerian guitarist Kunle Ayo, who recently released a new collaboration with Oliver Mtukudzi.
Also on night of Friday 9 October is the Macufe Urban Youth Festival, featuring Big Nuz, DJ Tira and Black Coffee, fresh from his win at the international DJ Awards. The venue for the Urban fest has not yet been confirmed.
All the above events lead up to the main music festival, taking place on Saturday 10 October at the Rose Garden from 11am to 1am. On the bill are Nigerian superstar Flavour, Tamia (Canada) and local legends Bucie, The Soil, Mafikizolo, Tshepo Tshola (Sankomota), Letta Mbulu and Caiphus Semenya, the Jaziel Brothers, Unathi, Tsoakae and Victor Kgantlape.
Besides music, there’s also a host of other events catering to fans of comedy, dance, fashion, theatre, poetry, crafts, sport, food and drink. It looks set to be an unforgettable experience. For more details or to book your ticket, visit the Macufe website.