Apologies for missing both March and April posts – I actually got quite depressed after researching everything around the continent and realising that I would attend none of the amazing festivals. I mean, I still weep at the fact that I missed Ms Erykah Badu at the Cape Town Jazz festival. Ah well. next year

I’m pretty excited about May on the continent. Here goes our next installment – Wanderlust Afrique – May. Dear Universe…

1. Afrika Burn: Tankwa, South Africa 28 April – 4 May 2014

Source: http://www.sarahduff.com

Source: http://www.sarahduff.com

Afrika Burn is a local spin off from the Burning Man festival in U.S.A. where a bunch of crazy, yes crazy, people pack up and go party in the desert. Same goes here – a bunch of mad hatters go and enjoy a week of desert living, with out of this world costumes, burning effigies, building themed “homes” and partying the day and night away in the middle of the Karoo, a place called Tankwa Town. The desert comes alive as its own self sufficient town – I have read and heard that people bring goods and wares to barter to survive. It’s a week of creative expression and community

Annually, the tickets to Afrika Burn are sold out within days and people spend a year planning the trek.

One day, when I am brave.

See more here – http://www.afrikaburn.com/

 

2. HIFA – Harare, Zimbabwe 29 April – 4 May 2014

http://www.hifa.co.zw/

http://www.hifa.co.zw/

Harare International Festival of Arts is a 14 year old music and arts festival held in Zimbabwe annually.

I think it would be amazing to attend this festival to see a side of Zimbabwe art, culture and music that we rarely are exposed. From videos and images found online HIFA tells a story of energy, creativity and celebration. I imagine it is a similar festival of the arts to the National festival held in Grahamstown, South Africa in winter.

See more here – http://www.hifa.co.zw/

You can download the programme and read all about the artists involved  – http://issuu.com/hifa/docs/hifa_pogramme_2014_r_lores_singles

This is a definite for next year

3. Azgo: Maputo, Mozambique 23 – 24 May

The Azgo festival was started off the back of Bushfire festival as part of the Fire festival route. “AZGO is the second stop on the Firefest route, a network of festivals that links HIFA in Zimbabwe, AZGO in Mozambique, MTN Bushfire in Swaziland and Safiko Music in Reunion.”

The festival was started in 2011 by ex-music crush Paulo, the drummer of 340ml and has been dubbed as one of the important festivals on the continent. Though the main focus of the festival is music, it also incorporates film, art, craft fair and culinary adventures for the festival goers to enjoy

Though the festival is young, last year saw over 4000 people enjoying the celebration of Mozambican culture and music by established and upcoming artists.

Azgo is slang for “Let’s Go”. Shall we?

More here – www.azgofestival.com 

4. Mawazine: Rabat, Morocco 30 May – 7 June 2014

source: welovebuzz.com
source: welovebuzz.com

Started in 2001, Mawazine is held in the capital of Morocco, (I thought Casablanca was the capital) is an annual festival that sees local and international artists grace the stages over a week-long celebration of music. Also known as the Festival of Rhythm.

The festival has seen some big names in music such The Jacksons, Rihanna, Lenny Kravitz, Kanye West, Quincy Jones and David Guetta.

This year is no different with Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake, Jason Derulo (vom) and even Ricky Martin on the bill. More here – http://www.festivalmawazine.ma/home

5. MTN Bushfire Festival, House of Fire, Swaziland 30 May – 1 June

Last year, on a whim, my friends and I packed our things and jumped into the car and drove the three hours to Swaziland for a weekend away and to attend the annual MTN Bushfire festival.
I’d heard about this festival and had always wanted to see and feel and hear it! It far exceeded any and all expectation.

15 000 People from around the world attending this expression of creativity through music, poetry, arts and crafts in mountainous Swaziland in a large open venue called House of Fire. The energy is amazing

During the day and into the night there is theatre, eating, drinking, fun for kids, music and all manners of expression at House of Fire, with a crafts section of the huge open area where people sell accessories, clothes, shoes, pottery and more. I bought a lot of earrings.

MTN bushfire is by far one of the best, most comfortable, easily enjoyable festivals I’ve been to. Swaziland is beautiful and easy to get around, with natural majesties to get touristy and explore if not at the festival. What’s also quite wonderful is that because tickets aren’t ridiculously pricey, the festival is inclusive for everyone and not “well off” foreigners. I believe that proceeds of the festival also go NGO’s for community development, so the fun is for a good cause.

The drive from Joburg is incredible; the wait at the border on the festival weekend is remarkable – i think we waited 2 hours to get stamped. but well worth it. So Bring your Fire
 

More here: http://www.bush-fire.com/

I’ll be missing out on Spoek Mathambo, Nakhane Toure, Oliver Mtukudzi, artists I’ve never heard of and more in favour of, LAST BUT NOT LEAST ….

6. DStv Delicious Festival – Joburg Botanical Gardens  31 May

Last year saw the inaugural  Music & Food Festival of epic proportions in Joburg – the DStv Delicious festival. (Most people who know me know how much I love saying the word “delicious”).

In 2013 the festival was held at Blue Hills Estate out in Lonehill and it was perfect! a 2 hour electrifying set from Jamiroquai, sightings of hobo looking Idris Elba, beautiful people, a lot of delicious food, and the most incredible sound system I’ve ever experienced. I mean, every note from every single artists was clear and crisp – I heard lyrics I thought were mumbles, beats I’d never noted before. Danced and danced and danced and accosted Jamiroquai at the after party

This year, I’m ridiculously excited for the international line-up at the open air festival – Brand New Heavies, Soul II Soul, Incognito. I may pee in my pants. I may die after that weekend. (The day before, 30 May, I’ll be checking out Foreign Exchange at Bassline in Newtown). Can you say scream?
10309022_237358069788448_1540784036045037772_n

For more on the premier Music & Food Festival that you cannot miss out on, check these links.

Tickets can be bought here: Computicket 

Follow Delicious here for updates: @DeliciousFestSA

Til the next Wanderlust, see you on the streets my people


My longest and most pressing dream is to travel Africa. I don’t go a day without imagining what I would see, what I’d eat, who I would speak to, dance with and every wonder I could experience on my continent of richness.

The other day, lusting at  festival calendars in Southern Africa and thinking about the music and cultural festivals I want to attend this year – like Afrika Burn, Oppikoppi festival, The Cape Town Jazz Festival, Bushfire festival, Lake of the Stars – I started to cast my mind to the festivals that happen across the continent.

So, as one does, I got lost on the interwebs and lived vicariously through google, blogs, flickr, and everyone else’s experience of these festival.

Hours of clicking, mouth agape, eyes widening, hope fluttering I was inconsolably enveloped by wanderlust. I may not be able to afford to go to all these places right now, but why not experience them anyway? Then the idea of sharing some of these festivals here, as a way of putting it out into the world, was birthed.

So every month, I will post some interesting festival guides and we can live vicariously through the internet together, until one day it is possible for me to attend all the wonders and give you first hand accounts. Or maybe you’ll go, and tell me all about them Welcome to Wanderlust Afrique, February 2014 edition.

1. Sauti Za Busara – Tanzania – 13 – 16 February

Source: www.2camels.com

Image source: www.2camels.com

Music festival that takes place annually in February on the streets of one the world’s oldest cities; Stone Town, Zanzibar. In Swahili, “sauti za busara” means “sounds of wisdom”. Outside of the live African music element from various artists, there are street parades, fashion shows, artists exhibitions, open air cinema and of course all the other amazing tourist things you can do in Zanzibar, including swimming with dolphins. The festival celebrates its eleventh year in existence and it enjoys the prestige of having been listed as part of Top 25 best festivals. They say it is the “friendliest festival on the planet” – which is believable from my of experience of East African people being kind, soft spoken, welcoming and so full of life. I imagine you’d experience an explosion of cultural celebration through music and other activities, also, Zanzibar is just beautiful, magical and rich in history

2. Up the Creek – Western Cape, South Africa – 30 Jan – 2 Feb 2014

Image source: http://www.tailsofamermaid.com/

Image source: http://www.tailsofamermaid.com/

I’ve never even imagined a water festival. From what I can tell, festival goers float about on a river and watch live bands on different stages, under the sky. I wonder if it as crazy as that sounds. Anyway, there’s comedy and music, over four days, three stages and probably a lot of sunburn. The uniqueness of this festival is that it is about the river. One of the stages is basically a floating device, the bar and some food stalls (amazing) and with that, there would obviously be a competition for the most creative floating device you can put together – if you so wish. This year’s line-up has about 30 artists from rock, to trance, to hip hop and more. When you’re done being a water baby, camp sites available to dry out and rest. So, float on to Breede River, Swellendam and splash away the weekend with laughs and music in a laid-back, no frills, no VIP setting.

 3. Festival on the Niger – Segou, Mali – 5 – 9 Feb 2014

image source: Travellingman

image source: Travellingman

Festival on the Niger is a traditional and contemporary live music event that takes place in Mali city of Segou, with a stage set up just on the shore of the Niger River. It’s a three day festival that is not only nightly music concerts, but also day time activities including showcases of traditional arts and crafts, there are also theatre performances and film screenings. Each year there is a festival theme that will be focus of the conferences, exhibitions and performances and this year’s is “Cultural Diversity and National Unity”. The festival was started as a way to celebrate the richness of cultural and creative expression in Mali and the region.

4. Eyo Festival – Lagos, Nigeria

Image source: http://www.yorubaunion.se/

Image source: http://www.yorubaunion.se/

This is one of the most confusing festivals I’ve come across. A few years ago, I visited Lagos and the streets of Victoria Island had remnants of some sort of street bash, and the driver who had picked me up from the airport tried to explain it to me and I just couldn’t comprehend how it worked and what was happening, but interested nonetheless to find out. And so I read, that this is a Yoruba traditional festival where masqueraded dancers come out to the streets in a somewhat Carnival manner and a manifestation of traditional spirits. I’d seen a statue that had been wrapped in white sheets and all sorts of stick embellishments, and this is how the dancers also dress. It is said that what Samba is to Brazil the Eyo is to Lagos. The fanfare and processions are open to tourists on one of the days. I think this one has to be seen to be fully understood.

There is no set date for the festival, but found somewhere it would take place in the first week of February this year. Do correct me if I’m wrong

“A full week before the festival (always a Sunday), the ‘senior’ eyo group, the Adimu (identified by a black broad-rimmed hat), goes public with a staff (“when this happens nothing on earth can stop the festival from taking place the coming Saturday”). Each of the four other ‘important’ ones—Laba (Red), Oniko (yellow), Ologede (Green), Agere (Purple)— in this very order takes their turns from Monday to Thursday without fail. This strictness with cadre and other old established rules before, during and after the celebration is what perhaps appeals the most about the eyo heritage. “

That’s it for now.

SOME OTHER EVENTS IN FEBRUARY, closer to home:


I am really such a head in the clouds, dream chasing kind of person. I throw caution to the wind and I dive into happy-making moments all because my heart shouts louder than my head. I’ve learnt this about myself in moments of retrospect; I then proceed to fail at trying to change myself to be a head person and less of a heart person, now I’ve just accepted that this is who I am.

Why am I telling you this?

Well, because I took a leap of faith; against my so-called better judgement and I entered that travel job competition through My Destination. (Blogged about it here). And this story is about the 24 hours of my impulsive fun loving dream chasing happy making peeks of me. (Long, please read the whole thing)

So on Saturday, I woke up energised by the dream to travel, gripped by the possible regret of not trying, by any means necessary, to make my dream to happen. I enlisted the help of my friend to be camera woman with my little camera phone and I quickly scripted a possible shot list of the things I would do to make an original and unique and personal video of the city I live in. The creation of a 3 minute video being one of the entry mechanics to the competition.

We started out with a drive to Braamfontein, with on camera pieces of what my video entry would be about – the focus of my love of Joburg would be centered around open air and /or rooftop entertainment. The first being neighbourhoods market; armed with a quick drink, some air kisses with beautiful Jozi people and a few links to camera about the venue, we got what we needed. It was loud. I must say, didn’t really know what I was doing, but we forged on. Just a quick one – I’m deadly scared of being on camera and I’m a nervous wreck when it comes to any kind of public speaking.

The next stop was the rooftop hangout on Juta street, The Beach. I mean, how much cooler could inland Joburg be? Real beach sand and vibes on a rooftop in the middle of the city, far from the ocean, but you can stick your feet in the sand, overlook the bustling streets below and a peek over at the ever beautiful Nelson Mandela bridge. We didn’t stay too long because we had convinced the people at the door that we had to get in without paying the R150 entrance fee since we were not on the guest list – life or death situation, we told them.

We then did a short on camera link about Nelson Mandela bridge, and as part of my own bucket list tick; walked across the bridge! Always wanted to do that. It’s fun, and it was awesome to see the parked trains under the bridge up close and not whizzing past as I usually see them.

The plan was then to drive to Rosebank, take the Gautrain (you know, show how people get around in our snazzy new development and the only underground train travel in S.A.) from there to Park Station, walk to Bree taxi rank and take a minibus taxi (you know, show how most residents get around) back to Rosebank. But that plan was thwarted because we were running out of time to get to the climax of the video, which was my biggest bucketlist to do item ever…

Ended up in Soweto a little late and had to turn back to the North and plan on doing the last part of the video on Sunday morning.

Now, I’m going to take you along on a trip of what happened the rest of Saturday even though it’s not part of the video entry. But it was unplanned fun- all part of my impulsiveness and love of random excursions.

Thami decided we needed a good night out and we convinced our DJ friend Akio to let us be his wing-women on his gigs for the night. What a fantastic decision that was. We drove to his house, parked my car and proclaimed it was a no driving but lots of drinking night for us. Jumped into Akio’s car and for the first time heard the itinerary. I remember thinking I would need lots of energy drinks for this one.

First stop – back to Soweto, at Chaf Pozi for a Miller event where Reason, Khuli Chana, Dimplez and Akio were performing. Great music and great fun.  Thami took to the dancefloor like the lover of shaking it she is, I chilled and people watched and had random conversation, like I do. Some drinks were had and lots of laughs shared. Some of our friends arrived and the circle was made bigger.

The next stop was Joburg CBD again, at the Lister Medical Building close to Carlton Centre for a Sky Room Live event. This happens on the 19th floor and the rooftop of the building, where artists perform with the gorgeous backdrop of Jozi city in lights (breathtaking views) and the performances are broadcast live on television and online! Brilliant concept. I loved the party, loved the views, loved the music – Reason was performing again and he did a completely different set to the one at Chaf Jozi and he was joined again by his DJ Akio (Reason even did a shout out to Akio’s parents who were streaming the show live from Tennessee and had never seen/ heard Akio perform before), the trio was completed by Reason’s performance and album Producer, the beat maker 37mph. Incredible set.

We made our way off the rooftop, continued the closing shenanigans and proceeded to the next stop.

OST in Newtown. The dodgy spot that is sometimes indoor venue to some of the coolest outdoor / street party concerts (think Bilal concert). Anyway, I love and hate OST and that night it was a stop over that provided awesome entertainment.

Final stop was Kitcheners. It’s a firm favourite party spot for me, and doesn’t need much explaining. Unfortunately Saturday’s party was a weird music and crowd experience, but I didn’t hate it. We ate and drank and bid our goodbyes to the night at about 4am (maybe it was 5am).

As mentioned, none of the after-dark missions were part of the film making that Saturday was meant to be about but am so glad my liker of things self was not silenced.

The sunrise came with a blue skied nippy morning and I woke my camera-woman, Thami, up for the final moment required for my competition entry – something I had never done before and had to have to make my video of my Joburg spectacular!

On fours of sleep, at 10am on Sunday morning, I bungee jumped off the Orlando Towers in Soweto. It was the most exhilarating and most frightening thing I’ve ever done. Life flashed before my eyes as I removed myself off the the rope bridge between the top of the two Towers and fell towards the earth. I was a little bird who believed she could fly. I screamed. I panicked. I thought I would die. My mind and body were boggled by this weightlessness. I released all fear. I thanked God for every blessing that had ever come my way. I felt more alive than ever in those incredible few seconds

image

What made it even more amazing was that it worked out well as part of my birthday gift to myself which was on Tuesday.

Thami captured the jump, the screams, and the craziness and the tears at the end and my video footage was complete.

Then came the hard part; trying to edit the damn thing. Me and my determination forgot about the fact that I had never edited a video before, didn’t even know what program to use, how to even put everything in sequence. Technology even tried to get in my way with my Android phone and Apple laptop acting like they were enemies. I managed to download the footage, select what I liked and panicked again at the fact that editing was so foreign to me – but I watched a few online tutorials, fumbled about and somehow created a 3 minute story of why I loved Joburg (on a budget nogal)

Here’s the link to my first ever YouTube post and one of the entry mechanics to the greatest job on earth (to travel the world for 6 months, across 6 continents, reporting experiences via blogs and vlogs and ticking off all the things I’ve ever wanted to do through The Biggest Baddest Bucketlist competition)

What do you think?

Wish me luck!


Guys. I’m about to tell you about one of those once in a lifetime opportunities that you’ll just kick yourself for if you don’t try! You have to enter, and tell everyone you know to enter.

We all love to travel, we all dream of travelling the world, My Destination does you one better on your dreams and invites you to actually experience every city or island you have ever wanted to go to and do the things you’ve either read about in books, magazines, on other lucky people’s blogs , seen on TV and movies. This is it. This is your time to shine, see the world and share the world with the world. Not only would you get what you want – lots of stamps in your passport; but you’d be part of the beautiful act that is inspiring other people to travel. There’s so much world out there, it has to be seen, touched, and lived.

What am I talking about? The competition of a lifetime: THE BIGGEST BADDEST BUCKET LIST!

#myBBB

#myBBB

Six whole months of globe-trotting  well six continents of the globe, all expenses paid (so that dream of eating frog in Thailand, dancing on the streets with thousands of other people on the streets of Salvador, visiting the tallest building in Moscow, eating at the restaurant where a scene of Kill Bill was shot would all be paid for) trip for one lucky citizen of planet earth. That person could be you. You could be the one trying out the world and reporting via blogs and vlogs of your experiences for half a year.

What do you need to do to win?

Create one 3 minute video about your favourite destination, write one 500 word blog post about your best travel experience and three pictures that go along with your story. Easy right?

More information and tips here – http://www.mydestination.com/bbb#.UTXOzzBTbTo

You have until 31 March 2013 to enter – but you really want to do it sooner because one of the ways to make it to the top 10 short list is by making a lot of noise about your submissions. Of course, that ‘s not the only way – great submissions will also be selected by the people at My Destination. It really could be you. Yes you, the one who has read this far and is currently hyperventilating at the thought that your dreams could quite simply come true.

It gets better. When you get back from the six month whirlwind job of experiencing the world and telling the world about the world – you get $50 000 to start a fresh in your new path at home (or wherever you please). That’s close to half a million sweet ZAR.

I’ve been lucky before to have lived my dream of travel, thanks to the globe-trotting competition I won from Smirnoff a few years ago. 32 cities and islands over 13 months reporting our travels in search of original nightlife via blogs, vlogs, magazine articles and more. I would absolutely love to enter, but I think it’s time to give other children a chance.

The world awaits you… your passion for travel, your love of storytelling, picture taking, people meeting and try everything once self could be the lucky winner. Life will never be the same again.

Check this video out for more inspiration, then get on with your game plan to travel the world.


Hello

In China, January 2009 with the Smirnoff Ten crew and our special party bus

In a previous lifetime, specifically in 2008 and 2009, I was blessed with the opportunity to globe trot as a Smirnoff Experience brand ambassador, part of a team of ten people from different countries. We travelled around thirty two cities and islands across our world, in search for Original night life; the incredible task was to document nightlife across the big party cities of the world and discover what made each place Original in its after dark (sometimes day time) activities. We were creating a kind of Lonely Planet for activities that weren’t ‘the usual’ or touristy.

I think I’ve made reference to the 13 month long trip on my blog and other sources previously so I won’t go into too much detail. The point is; two things happened.

First, I lived my biggest dream, I experienced,  in that time span,  something I had wanted and needed for so long. It happened. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and it was presented to me with all the bells and whistles. Everything paid for and a delicious per diem to go crazy. I tell people, honestly, it took me over a year just to get off that high, over a year of speaking to God in part thanking Him and in part asking what I was meant to do now that my biggest dream had been realised. Still wondering, by the way.

Secondly, and quite amazingly, the travel bug bit me. It tore into my flesh and settled into every vein in my body, creating a burning need to do it again. This time, I want to travel my beautiful continent, Africa.

[Been pondering, for a while now, with no brave or even mediocre ideas as to what I would do and where; and I keep coming back to my truth. The truth that what I would absolutely love to do for the rest of my days includes stepping foot and soul onto and into every country on this etheric Africa. I want to learn how to and tell stories, I want to meet people, learn languages, explore, showcase and live my Africa. ]

Recently, with vigorous head nodding through every sentence, I read Justice Malala’s piece on Times Live titled: We should be burning to read.– where he,  in context of books recently being burnt as opposed to giving them to school children, told the story of how he had basically seen the world through books. He’d been to places he’d never stepped foot in through well crafted sentences.

When I visited Nigeria a year or so ago, I felt like I’d already been there having been engulfed by Chimamanda Adichie’s “Half of a Yellow Sun” and everything I imagined was perfectly in sync with everything I saw. That book sold Nigeria to me.

Through reading, we are able to transport ourselves into other worlds, other countries, other crevices for our imagination to play in. I would be a completely different person if I wasn’t such an avid reader; so it makes me so sad to know that there are people who aren’t afforded the opportunity.

A friend of mine always says “Sell everything and Travel” to which I absolutely agree and wish I could. In the absence of the above motto, I say: Read everything and Travel.

What are you reading currently?