Last week was lovely weekfor live music lovers and the people in the creative industry. It was through the second edition of Marafiki Music festival themed ‘music for social change,’ aims at inspiring youths and musician to use music as tool to bring social positive change.

The four days festival brought together 12 band and a total of 126 artists on stage this year.

Apart from live music there was a series of workshops during the day that will open conversations about music business and how to make Afro fusion music relevant and consumable within Tanzania and East Africa market.

Speaking to The Beat, Isack Peter Abeneko, Marafiki Festi- val Director says, among other goals this year’s festival was to program women bands/artists and give priority to women artists to build women suitability in the culture sector.

Adding to that the festival makes sure women are given platform and equal opportunities to raise and stand strong in the creative sector.

Marafiki took place at Nafasi Art Space on October 7 and 8 and at Alliance Francoise on October 9 before moving to Bagamoyo for the final phase on Sunday.

“Apart from giving them this opportunity this year’s festival offered special training for women in the music industry and learn more on the challenges they go through that at some point stops women from going extra mile in their careers same as male partners.

The move also aims at supporting development stakeholders that are pushing for- ward the women agenda to do more as well as reminding policy makers on the importance of bringing equality in the country and ensure that women are not left behind in the creative industry.

Upendo Manasse is this year’s Festival Manager. Last year’s event Upendo per- formed at the festival as the musician and later she was the MC for the last day of the fes- tival that took place at Firefly Bagamoyo.

She is a traditional solo artiste, a songwriter, actress, concert organizer, music teacher and entrepreneur. She has performed in various music and theater performances in collaboration with various artistes, institu- tions and projects in different countries including, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Denmark and Finland.

She confessed to be nervous as the roles were bigger but she is happy that the festival management worked hand in hand with her to make sure they are on the same track.

“It is a learning process which presses unleash potential within me that I never knew it is existing. Now I know apart from just singing there are other areas I can do better if put energy in improving myself,” says Upendo.

She says, the four days festival allowed the festival goers to enjoy the live music as the selected bands and artists are all of high standards.

Nasibo from Zimbabwe plays the Mbira instrument. She thumbs up for the festival management for allowing women to lead the festival this year. She says through conversa- tions at the festival her music journey reflected challenges that faces female musicians in her county.

She says, it has never been an easy journey for her to progress as a solo artist and as a woman.

“When a woman is doing music for a living and try to make change in her community they are always looked down on and people makes sure they look like they are doing nothing and cannot be compared with make counterpart,” says Nasibo.

“In Zimbabwe the music industry is male dominated to a point that it is also difficult to work with males in the bands. If a woman is not strong enough they can easily manipulate her and as a result a woman cannot manage to express her feelings and stand on what she wants and keep on reminding the team members of the woman she is,” adds Nasibo.

Through Marafiki festival Nasibo has been able to exchange experiences with other music stakeholders and make sure after the festival there a lot of improvement in the music scene in terms of women participation.

Festival goers are enjoying unique content this year as more women are on board so a lot of discussions will center along the lines of women empowerment.

Discussions that helps and shapes young women and girls and give them an opportunity to run away from the challenges we went through and until now ar still struggling, she says.

Akoth Jumadi, a female musician from Kenya, says, she is here to inspire, educate and entertain the crowd through her instruments performance. Marafiki brings both local and international artistes to Dar ground every year.