About The Festival

Buyel’Ekhaya was established in 2009 in East London with a simple vision: To turn the Eastern Cape into the Cultural Mecca of South Africa.

The crown of the Eastern Cape’s festivals, The 9th Annual Buyel’ekhaya Pan African Festival celebrates all that is African, contributing to the maintenance of cultural heritage and diversity. It is foremost an African music festival that respects and embraces Pan African culture, as is evident in the line-up and attendee profile.

In line with the need to develop and enhance the standing of our locally brewed artists, the festival features a sizeable number of these locals, starting from emerging artists in the Eastern Cape to nationally and internationally acclaimed South African and Pan-African artists.

Since inception, the Festival has been held over a single day, with a focus on music, and, over the years, has hosted a mixture of emerging and established Eastern Cape, South African and artists from the rest of Africa, in keeping with the spirit of inclusiveness and Pan-African ideals. Musicians include Caiphus Semenya, Oliver Mtukudzi, CondryZiqubu, VusiMahlasela, Ringo Madlingozi, Angelique Kidjo, Salif Keita, Camagwini, Zakwe, Mi Casa, DJ Tira, ZakesBantwini, The Soil, Lira, Hugh Masekela, Thandiswa Mazwai, Simphiwe Dana, Stimela, Papa Wemba, Black Coffee, Mafikizolo, AKA,Cassper Nyovest and Riky Rick, amongst many others.

2016 was a celebration of the resilience of the Buyel’Ekhaya brand, when the festival expanded to a two-day programme, closing in on our vision to give full expression to the tenets of culture that form a central part of the African lifestyle, through song, dance and fashion.

Going Back To Our Roots

The Buyel’ Ekhaya Pan African Festival is a call to pay homage to African arts, ranging from indigenous African crafts, exhibitions, indigenous music, dance, fashion and film. It seeks to be a platform for Pan African talent and celebrates Africa’s virtues through song, dance and other cultural forms; whilst preserving, promoting and authenticating what being African means.

Pan African Imperative

Pan-Africanism represents the aggregation of the historical, cultural and artistic legacies of Africans from past times to the present. It is an endeavour to return to what are deemed as singular, traditional African concepts about culture, society, and values. Buyel’Ekhaya seeks to promote the preservation of this rich heritage by using cultural activism to promote the question of African identity.

Pan African legends featured over the years on the Buyel’Ekhaya stage includes Oliver Mtukudzi, Salif Keita, Angelique Kidjo, Isabel Novella, Kanda Bongo Manand Papa Wemba.

Mzansi Golden Economy

The Department of Arts and Culture has established the Mzansi Golden Economy with the view of using the creative economy as a driver of economic growth. The 5 main objectives of the Mzansi Golden Economy strategy are:

  1. To stimulate demand
  2. Audience development and consumption
  3. Building heritage resources
  4. Human capital development
  5. Developing cultural entrepreneurs

The Mzansi Golden Economy was conceptualised precisely in recognition for the role that festivals in the arts ecology – they drive innovation, create employment opportunities and impact on local economy. Festivals are a huge driver of growth not just for the arts sector, but the economy as a whole as supported by the PricewaterhouseCoopers Entertainment Outlook, which states the worth of the South African live music industry in 2012 as R928 million, based on consumer spending on concert and festival ticket sales and merchandise.

Under this initiative, Buyel’Ekhaya Pan African Festival was  identified as a flagship event of the Eastern Cape in 2015, through the attraction of diverse audiences nationally, promotion of social cohesion and job creation, a tool for sustainable growth of local and national artists, a contributor to related sectors like the hospitality, tourisms, food and beverage, and technical services sectors, and the promotion of both professional and grassroots artists.

According to the Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa, events are living metaphors of cosmopolitanism, where people of different walks of life, of varied cultural expressions, congregate under the same roof, eager to embrace new sounds and new ways of seeing – in this way expanding our cultural imagination, taking us beyond difference and renewing and transforming ourselves through art.