Faisal Kiwewa, Director, Bayimba Foundation, Uganda
Faisal is the Founder and Current Director of Bayimba Cultural Foundation in Uganda. The Foundation also organises among other initiatives six annual Bayimba Festivals that bring together artists from Uganda, East Africa and the rest of the world to celebrate the power of arts and culture. One such festival is The Bayimba International Festival of Music and Arts has become an important annual event on the national social calendar.
The Foundation also curates DOADOA – the East African Performing Arts Market – as a regional platform where stakeholders in the performing arts industry meet to share their skills and experience and do business.
Abdi Rashid Jibril, Director, Roots International ,Kenya
Under the direction of Abdi Rashid Jibril, Roots International has established itself as a musical curator/promoter of distinction in the East African market. The company produces the annual Cool Waters Jazz & Roots Festival and hosts a weekly live music night in Nairobi Kenya called Thursday Nite Live that has featured over 250 concerts and counting by local and regional bands/artists.
Besides presenting Nairobi audiences with Africa and the world’s rich musical heritage, Roots International serves as a talent booking agent with a great network and relationships with artists both in Kenya and Africa wide. Through offering workshops in event curation and management, career coaching, audience development etc, Roots International has contributed to the growth of the music sector in East Africa. In 2016 Roots International launched a boutique event entitled
Cool Waters Jazz & Roots Festival with over 3 nights of music by eclectic and notable local and international talent.
Yusuf Mahmoud, CEO & Festival Director, Sauti za Busara, Tanzania
Yusuf Mahmoud is from UK, where in the 1980 – 90s he directed world music festivals, concerts and seminars, to raise awareness, promote positive images and solidarity with the global south.
In 2007 Yusuf was presented the World Shaker Award at the BBC World Music Awards, recognising his “enormous contribution to both the local scene in Zanzibar and the world music scene globally”.
Yusuf located to Zanzibar in 1998. In 2003 he set up Busara Promotions, an NGO working in East Africa to strengthen appreciation for African music, develop local skills and networks.
Yusuf is occupied through the year with the Sauti za Busara festival, annually showcasing 40 music groups from the African Continent and diaspora.
Also known as ‘the friendliest festival on the planet’, the event is popular with locals and visitors from all corners of the world.
Aziza Ongala, Events Manager, EAVC and Wikendi Live, Tanzania
Since 2011, Aziza Ongala has been organising, planning and executing events of all shape and sizes including “uBongo Fest!” in 2011 in tribute of her late father Dk. Remmy Ongala, an established world class African musician who passed away in 2010. Aziza seeks in programming musicians and bands dedicated to showcasing traditional African beats and fusion. In 2015, she director the three day International Music Festival called “Karibu” in Bagamoyo, in addition to the “East African Vibes Concert” in 2016/2017. In 2016 she established a monthly live music event known as “Wikiendi Live!” partnering with Nafasi Art Space, an NGO based in Dar es salaam. “Wikiendi Live!” actively targets artist that are willing to break from mainstream expectations and limits, by tapping into deep sources of heritage or experimenting with new forms of expression or doing both at the same time.
Working with fellow cultural activists such as Rebecca Corey, under the East African Artist Agency named “Chanzo”, Aziza supports visual artist and performing artist alike, playing original or live music; with a strong connection to cultural heritage, to develop their careers. Aziza is proud to be part of the East African community of cultural activists, amplifying brave artistic voices who speak for vulnerable or excluded groups. In addition, to aiding festivals, venues, or events, booking the right artist for their audience. Such services included: Artist Management, Development and Representation, Booking and Gigs, Press Kits, Photos, and Videos for Artists.