Zakifo is the brainchild of festival director Jérôme Galabert, journalist and magazine publisher Andy Davis, and of Sipho Sithole, whose contributions to African music range from producing albums for Thandiswa Mazwai, to signing the hip hop group Skwatta Kamp. That was back before left Gallo Records to found his own Native Rhythm label, onto which he signed acts such as The Soil and Zuluboy.

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Zakifo’s also the South African cousin of La Réunion’s Sakifo. The city of Durban hosted the festival for the third time running this past weekend. Baloji, Kommanda Obbs, Ray Phiri, Jojo Abbot and Damian Marley were among some of the artists on the bill.

Zakifo pictures

Feeling the groove

 

Zakifo pictures

Ready to surrender everything to the music

 

Zakifo pictures

Thandiswa Mazwai carried us all into distant futures

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Zakifo pictures

Omara “Bombino” Moctar, the indestructible Tuareg who set minds ablaze

 

Zakifo pictures

Laughter wasn’t hard to come by

 

Zakifo pictures

Ray Phiri’s backing vocalist was a show unto herself, exuding pure class and excellence throughout the set

 

Zakifo pictures

Ray Phiri of Stimela acclaim showed us all how pantsula, jazz and township blues are interconnected

 

Zakifo pictures

Baloji went beyond hip hop confines with a set that melded agile dance moves with perfect-precision rhyme schemes

 

Zakifo pictures

Kommanda Obbs made sure that everyone left knowing where on the map Lesotho’s located

 

Zakifo pictures

Higher heights

 

Zakifo pictures

Damian Marley feelin’ the vibes

 

Zakifo pictures

Damian Mareley’s backing vocalists deserve all the props

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