This year marked the 55th year founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), presently known as the Africa Union (AU), which is celebrated through Africa Day annually on the 25th May. Africans across the continent celebrated Africa day, an amazing milestone, and a journey all are proud of.
Africa Day pays tribute to the achievements made by our heroes back in 1963 who led the way and envisioned an Africa that is filled with greatness, and it is in each and every individual to take the baton – of being the change and make Africa better.
South Africa celebrated Africa Day with a month-long celebration of what it means to be African, and a three-day programme with Brand South Africa, Bassline and various stakeholders building up to the 14th annual Africa Day Festival hosted by Bassline now rebranded #BasslineFest which was held at the Constitution Hill.
“We are proud to have been part of the Africa Day celebration as want to remind each and every African of our shared history and, to build lasting collaborations with our neighbours on the continent”; said Brand South Africa’s Stakeholder Relationship Manager Ms Toni Gumede.
The three-day programme went as follows;
Day one – 24th May Bassline in partnership with Brand South Africa, Nelson Mandela Foundation, Constitution Hill, Joburg Tourism and the ‘Red Bus’ company hosted a ‘Trace Mandela Footsteps Tour’. The purpose was to promote the #BeTheLegacy centenary campaign and local tourism.
The tour ended in the Mandela House in Soweto, with the official #BasslineFest press-launch lunch where the #BasslineFest headline artists were unveiled. These included the legendary Salif Keita (Mali), multi-Grammy award winners Ladysmith Black Mambazo (South Africa) and the pop sensation Yemi Alade (Nigeria), Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse, Nakhane and Femi Koya amongst others.
Addressing the artists’ and delegates, Chief Executive Officer of the Nelson Mandela Foundation Mr Sello Hatang said, “we are so grateful that you are here, Madiba use to say that music can unite people, can unite nations, you can forget about differences when there is music. It gives us great pleasure that you will be opening the centenary programme in terms of music and you are therefore pioneers in the arts for the centenary programme because you are the first act.”
To end off the tour a surprise performance by multi-Grammy award winners Ladysmith Black Mambazo left the audience in a state of awe.
“The tour was really an insightful page out of our history book. It was very informative and emotional at the same time. A very special reminder to celebrate Mandela’s legacy and the freedom we are happily enjoying today”, said delegate Ms Nthabi.
Day two – 25th May Two dialogues were hosted at the Nelson Mandela Foundation. The first one under the theme “South Africa belongs to all who live in it” was led by Brand South Africa. The second dialogue of the day was hosted by the Gauteng Department of Sport and Recreation and focused on the Role of the Creative Industry in strengthening democracy.
“The country (South Africa) has become home for many foreign nationals who not only contribute to the economy but to the colourful nation, we’ve been known to be. I urge that we all build bridges of active citizenry across African nations to better strengthen the main objectives of the OAU, said Brand South Africa’s Board of Trustee, Mr Mzi Malunga as he closed off the session.
Day three – 26th May The #BasslineFest which was held at the Constitution Hill celebrated African dynamism, promoted solidarity, social cohesion, anti-xenophobia, tourism, arts and culture under the theme #BeTheLegacy as endorsed by the Nelson Mandela Foundation centenary celebration.
Mr Brad Holmes, Founder and Managing Director of Bassline said, “the #BasslineFest is about exposing talent across Africa and contributes to creating a united Africa, a Pan Africa, an Africa without borders”.
The #BasslineFest was infused with a market day curated by Soweto’s LoCrate Market team which was an opportunity to buy African food, fashion, art and crafts.
Performances had the audiences dancing, screaming and chanting “we want more”. The artists paid homage to the continent with a particular focus this year, on the legacy that is Nelson Mandela.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Yemi Alade and Salif Keita gave an exclusively crafted performance to pay tribute to Madiba’s legacy.
Watch highlights of the #BasslineFest here: Africa Day Celebration Concert