Waje, Songhoy Blues, Tuku and more for Africa Day in Johannesburg

South Africa’s biggest celebration of African heritage returns to Newtown in downtown Johannesburg on Saturday 28 May with a star-studded celebration that will see some of the continent’s biggest acts take to the stage.

Zimbabwe's Oliver Mtukudzi and Nigerian singer Waje will headline Africa Day in Johannesburg.
Zimbabwe's Oliver Mtukudzi and Nigerian singer Waje will headline Africa Day in Johannesburg.

Africa Day marks the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity (now known as the African Union) in May 1963 to promote unity between African nations and provide a support mechanism for liberation movements of colonized African nations. Today, Africa Day serves as a day to celebrate our heritage, despite our differences, and showcase the continents history and culture through arts.

This is the twelfth year that the Bassline in Newtown has been the backbone of this celebration. This year sees a line-up that far surpasses any of the previous concerts, with a strong focus on female empowerment.

Representing South Africa this year will be 2016 SAMA-nominated songstress Zonke Dikana, Maleh, The Soil, Tribute ‘Birdie‘ Mboweni and Nakhane Toure.

They will join a host of stars from across the continent, including Nigerian diva Waje, Haya Samir from Egypt, Maya Kamaty from Reunion, Zimbabwean legend Oliver Mtukudzi, Mali’s Songhoy Blues and Vaudou Game from Togo.  

The Bassline’s Africa Day celebrations form the Joburg leg of the regional Firefest route. Most of the African stars performing on 28 May will therefore be in the region to perform at other festivals on the route, such as Azgo in Mozambique and MTN Bushfire in Swaziland, while Vaudou Game will also headline the annual Fête de la Musique in Joburg on 18 June.

With a top-shelf line-up that so strongly focused on the African continent’s diversity, Africa Day is set to be one of the musical highlights of the year for South African audiences. Lovers of all genres of music will get to experience the rich culture we have to offer.

Local radio station Kaya FM is supporting this initiative wholeheartedly. “For her to thrive once again, Africa needs her women to stand firm as women, and her song to keep playing for her children to sing along,” said Kaya FM boss Greg Maloka. “Kaya FM is pleased to be associated with the Africa Day celebrations showcasing the continent’s rich and diverse talent.”

The event will be broadcast live on SABC2 from 8.30pm to 11pm. “SABC2 has in recent years adopted 6 pillars, which include world exposure. Our association with the annual Africa Day concert proves our commitment to reaching out to not only South Africans but the continent as a whole,” said SABC2 Channel Head Gerhard Pretorius.

The event also takes place during the national Department of Arts and Culture’s Africa Month celebrations, launched in 2015 under the theme ‘We Are Africa: Opening the doors to learning and culture from Cape To Cairo’ in order to commemorate the founding of the AU and promote its aim to free the continent from oppression. It is expected to build on the recent call by President Jacob Zuma in early January that Africa must act in unity, harnessing the collective power of its people, for it to take its rightful place on the global stage. Last year’s Africa Day concert featured South African rapper iFani, as well as Jaojoby from Madagascar and Joana Serrat from Spain.

Tickets are available for R210 from Ticket Pro. For more details and update check out the Africa Day concert event page.

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