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Tuesday, June 9, 2015


(Much loved Reunion musician Nathalie Natiembé)

The inaugural Zakifo Muzik Festival, Durban – featuring cutting-edge, eclectic music acts from France, Reunion, Mozambique, India, Brazil, Madagascar, Rwanda and South Africa -  comes to Durban’s City Hall on June 11 and Rivertown Beer Hall on June 12 and 13.

There will also be a host of satellite fringe events, workshops, concerts and jams.

Zakifo’s sister event, Sakifo, is Reunion island’s premier live music festival, bringing the world’s biggest international musicians to the region, with a diverse, multi-cultural and inter-generational focus ranging from pop to reggae and world music as well as indigenous sounds from Africa and the Indian Ocean islands. Sakifo is the most significant music event in the Indian Ocean attracting music buyers, industry promoters and festival professionals from around the world.

Zakifo is a member of the FireFest Route: a regional fraternity of music festivals that take place over the months of May / June each year as part of the East3 Route, an intergovernmental initiative promoting tourism, arts and culture development and collaboration between South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique.

The festival kicks off on June 11 at the Durban City Hall, featuring Zulu Folk legend Madala Kunene in collaboration with Reunion Island’s Maloya singer/songwriter, Nathalie Natiembé. The evening culminates with the acappella Afro soul sounds of Mzansi’s SAMA Award winning trio, The Soil.

There are two events at the Rivertown Beer Hall: on June 12 and Saturday 13. The first evening kicks off with Reunion’s masters of percussive maloya, Grèn Sémé. They followed by the South African and Rwandan Afro-pop mash-up known as the John Wizards; Brazilian bossa-nova meets ragga songstress, Flavia Coelho and the return of the world class Mozambican dubstars; 340ml Sound System who set the stage and the tempo for Veranda Panda, the dynamic Durban electro duo before France’s DJ duo Epic Empire sets fire to the floor and takes us through to closing in the early hours.

June 13 returns to the Beer Hall and kicks off proceedings with a distinctly urban and hip-hop feel. Durban’s own king of dark Mzansi electro, Felix Laband sets it off. He is followed by Cape Town groove duo Christian Tiger School; Pretoria garage rock duo Make Overs light things up for Durban hip-hop stalwart Raheem, who rocks the mic before giving way to Durban production wizard Sketchy Bongo and friends. Tumi, from the Volume, returns to eThekwini with his band and a whole new set and Nucleya, straight from Ahmedabad India, dropping some heavy electronic Bollywood beats.

Festival Director, Jerome Galabert, says: “Sakifo means ‘what is needed’ in Creole. When we launched the festival in Reunion 12 years ago, our intention was to respond to the unique needs of the island’s cultural community. With Zakifo Durban our intention is the same. We want to start answering the call of the city’s creative voices; strengthening ties between the cultural communities of the Indian Ocean, from India to Australia to China and of course Reunion, Madagascar and Mauritius. Through our world-class line-up we strive to inspire and create lasting opportunities for collaboration; cross cultural exchanges; economic opportunities and skills development.

“Most importantly, we’ve kept the ticket prices very reasonable,” Galabert adds. “R150 for the VIP opening night at Durban City Hall and just R80 for each night at the Beer Hall. We’ve done this because we’re a new festival and we want the people of Durban to come and experience Zakifo to be truly entertained and excited, so we can build powerfully for 2016 and beyond!”

Sipho Sithole, one of the festival partners and founder / owner of Native Rhythms, says: “This partnership with Reunion Islands has been a dream of mine. I have attended a number of music festivals internationally and there was no better choice and fit than Zakifo to bring to South Africa, particularly my home town and province. Zakifo is a destination festival, a people to people encounter and we guarantee you that over the years this festival will become part of travellers’ annual calendar coming from all over the world.”

Zakifo Muzik Festival, Durban has been made possible by the generosity of international partners, Alliance Française de Durban; Institut Français; Reunion Island's Conseil Général; Air Austral and Scènes Australes. KZN Tourism; Durban Tourism eThekwini Municipality, Red Bull and Castle Lite Lime should also be applauded for their support.

Tickets available at Computicket outlets at Shoprite Checkers nationwide, or by phoning 0861 915 8000 or online at

For more information, and for the detailed programme, visit or email or phone 031 332 0119. Additional information is also available on South African music, culture and reality magazine at

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