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Top 9 Best African Music And Poetry Events – Malawi’s Lake Of Stars Festival Tops List

Africa is such an exciting place to be. It has so much to offer, from its beautiful sceneries and wildlife to its dynamic and sometimes static arts and cultural scene. There are always festivals to celebrate life, death, rites of passage and even music and poetry. The best African music and poetry events are celebrated with the aim of bringing oneness to the people, for pure enjoyment and fun and to bring about development in the arts scene.

Best African Music and Poetry events

Event Country
Lake of  Stars festival Malawi
Cape Town International Jazz Festival South Africa
HIFA Music Festival Zimbabwe
Marrakesh Festival of the Arts Morocco
Sauti za Busara Tanzania
Festival au Desert Mali
Poetry Africa Festival, Durban South Africa
Oppikoppi- Northam South Africa

Mentioned below are some of the continent’s music and poetry festivals.

1.Lake of  Stars festival in Malawi

This festival has been held annually for the past ten years in Malawi. During this music festival, international musicians have been given a platform to showcase their talents and skills as well as entertain the music lovers present.

This festival has been dubbed as ‘the finest festival in the world’. It is known for attracting throngs of people as it is one of the most spectacular African music and poetry events.

The interesting thing about this festival is that the performing artists are not paid a dime for their performances. The lake of stars features every September of the year and runs for three consecutive days. The main purpose of holding this event is to bring more exposure to Malawi and to generate more revenue for the government.

2.Cape Town International Jazz Festival

Among the many musicals that South Africa hosts, this one is the most popular and takes the longest time to come to a close. It was founded in the year 2000.

This festival is famed for being the fourth largest jazz festival in the entire world and for being the largest and most intriguing jazz festival on the African continent. It is usually a two-day event.

There is usually something to enjoy for every person present. This is because all kinds of performers are usually present and performances cut across all kinds of genres. Great artists such as Erykah Badu grace the event.

3.HIFA Music Festival, Zimbabwe

Best African Music and Poetry events

The abbreviations HIFA stand for, Harare International Festival of Arts.This traditional African poetry and music festival was commenced in the year 1999. It takes place annually between the months of April and May. The festival usually runs for a week.

There are five distinct genres that are showcased in this event and they entail, poetry, music, theater, fine art and last but not least, dance. Artists ranging from jazz, opera, funk, classical music and theater.


In HIFA, one pays according to the event that they are interested in. Unlike what is usually the practice in other festivals where a standard price is paid for all activities carried out. This festival is a stalwart of music festivals in Africa.

4.Marrakesh Festival of the Arts, Morocco

Morocco is quite the party animal. This claim can be substantiated by the number of festivals held in the country annually. The Marrakesh festival is made up of all kinds of amusements such as fortune tellers, snake charmers as well as acrobats. All this is enjoyed while your ears are soothed by traditional Moroccan music, beats of the drum and dancers too.

5.Sauti Za Busara, Zanzibar, Tanzania

In English, sauti za busara means voices of wisdom. This is East Africa’s largest music festival. It features over 400 artists and besides music and dance, other activities such fashion shows, dhow races and drumming competitions are held.

The festival is usually held in the month of February every year. The old forts and historic buildings of these coastal towns provide room for the event to take place. Not only will you enjoy the music but also the beautiful sceneries ranging from the ocean to the ancient architecture.

6.Festival au Desert, Mali

This festival features performances of traditional Tuareg music and dances. It was usually held on an annual basis on the sand dunes in Timbuktu and was a three-day event. It featured exemplary performances from many award winning musicians from Mali.

However, the continuing state of unrest in Mali in 2013 to 2014 has continued to be a setback to the taking off, of the event. However, plans are underway to help bring back the festival to its lost glory.

7.Poetry Africa Festival, Durban South Africa

Best African Music and Poetry events

This literary event is usually held on a yearly basis. It is one of the most popular African music and poetry events since no other poetry event in the continent equal to it. This is in terms of the number of poets and spoken word artists, who grace the occasion with their stellar performances as well the throngs of poetry lovers and students who religiously attend the festival.

This year, the festival will be marking its 21stedition since it started. It is usually held at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre.

One salient characteristic about this literary fair is that it not only features performers from South Africa, but also from across the globe. It is usually a week-long event and entails events such as performances, spoken word, book launches from renowned poets as well as upcoming ones.

8.Oppikoppi- Northam, South Africa

It is considered as the icing on the cake of all South African music festivals. It has been in existence since 1994 and is held during the month of August every year. It is the best African music and poetry event that is compared to a pilgrimage. It is likened as so, because of the large masses of die-hard fans who walk to Northam to take part in the festival.

It is an energy packed music festival that is graced by those in the music industry.


It is quite evident that the African continent has quite a lot to offer in all aspects and fields. There is a lot of diversity in terms of tourist attractions, cultural and ethnic practices, and ethnic groupings and as shown above, different arts and festivals which help keep the spirit of togetherness alive.

Make a point of visiting Africa for one of the music festivals and the experience will forever remain etched in your mind.


Written by MT

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