The Norwegian embassy in Tanzania has pledged to sponsor the 2020 edition of Zanzibar festival with the sum of $342,000.
The news was immediately released by the Sauti za Busara (SzB) festival manager, Journey Ramadhani, after the agreement was reached. Also, the manager urged the Tanzanian government to support cultural events.
While speaking on the deal, he said that access to funding was one of the focal issues being faced by the Music Industry players. However, the new funding is expected to enhance the production value of Zanzibar festival. “The embassy of Norway’s support is valuable and deeply appreciated in that it covers most of Busara’s office salaries and expenses all through the year”.
“This has really aided to professionalize in terms of our strategic budgeting, planning narrative and financial reporting. In regards to the festival, we still have so much to do in fundraising, as we are again starting almost from scratch”, he said.
The manager said that although the festival appreciated the funding, it was still looking to secure further sponsorship opportunities. “We have approached other sponsors, who can contribute in any form such as hotel rooms, technical equipment or media coverage, flight tickets in return for marketing benefits that can reach millions of people locally and globally, depending on the interests of the various sponsors”.
“Guests to Sauti Za Busara brings plenty of business, mobile communications, in flights and ferries, restaurants, ground transport, hotels, and so on. Whatever corporate contribute returns in the short or long term, as they support the cultural industries grow and prosper the future”.
He said that NGOs and foreign cultural bodies were not at the forefront of sponsoring exchange programs and creative expression events across East Africa. But Ramadhani believes that the government has its own role to play to invest know the arts industry, which can boost economic growth.
The tourism statistics have been duly transformed, with the festival week now being peak season for the island. This festival helps to reduce poverty and build peace and unity, promote cultural tourism, provide employment and skills training, and attract visitors from near and far while promoting intercultural friendship and exchange”.
Annually, Sauti za Busara hosts 7000 local and international festivalgoers and employs 300 crew and 500 artistes. This year’s edition, Sauti za Busara unveiled 46 groups and 400 artistes from Africa and the diaspora on three stages.
Meanwhile, last month the Zanzibar festival called all artists who would like to play at the 2020 edition of the festival.