The Folklore Festival returns for another year of a vibrant celebration of African identity, culture, customs, and heritage on the 16th of September 2023 at the National School of the Arts. Curated by the multi-ward winning storyteller and creative artist: Pilani Bubu (see  &  


""In the heart of our collective existence lies a vibrant tapestry of human expression known as Folklore. It weaves together the soulful essence of a people, an intricate web of traditional wisdom, customs, and captivating tales cherished by generations past. Whispers carried on the winds of time, where words morph into dances, proverbs sing through melodies, and laughter echoes in the form of jokes. Such artistry, captured across diverse mediums, reflects the pulse of life within a community. Folklore is this collective documentation of art forms passed through generations by word of mouth. This festival prides itself in being a conduit for inter-generational dialogue, indigenous knowledge share, and the important documentation and preservation of African folklore as it re-defines itself through time and instilling a stronger sense of identity in ourselves as Africans.” Says Founder & Festival Director Pilani Bubu.


The festival promises an unforgettable experience exploring a pan African offering of music, literature, crafts and food for the whole family. A music concert on the main stage, workshops, a book fair on the storyteller’s stage, a kids are with drumming circles, play time singing and safe place to leave your kids to play and learn and not forgetting traditional dancers off stage, making for best sensorial cultural experience in Johannesburg , See after-movie for 2022:


The first artists announced, who will be setting the stage and your souls ablaze and bringing you contemporary folk fusion at the second annual Folklore Festival 2023 this year are: The electrifying poet, rapper and afro-centric Sho Madjozi (SA), ‘The Voice’  Vusi Mahlasela (SA), who is set to release his 8th studio album ‘Umoya this September, the enchanting Thandeka Mfinyongo (SA), The uhadi, mbira, percussive trio with sis Lungiswa Plaatjies known as Ancient Voices (SA. From Kenya this year, we are excited to share an artist that fuses the Nyatiti (a genre of music and an 8-stringed instrument called Luo lyre) into modern sounds is Makadem (Kenya) ft. Eddie Grey, a visionary and trailblazer in the Jazz and fusion scene in East and Central Africa. Representing the heritage of Zimbabwe, Josh Meck (ZIM) will share a project celebrating the icons of music from his home country, immersing you in a symphony of cultural richness. Lastly, but definitely not least (at least for now), is our advocate for World Music; DJ Nicky B, who will be returning for a daytime set, infusing the air with infectious beats and irresistible melodies. The festival will be taking place at the National School of the Arts in Braam Park Johannesburg. More artists will be announced soon.


 🎟️ Early bird tickets available at:  🎟️

Early bird tickets available from R80 for kids, R100 for adults at 50% discount until the 16th of August 2023. Don't miss out on this extraordinary celebration of African culture and heritage this Heritage Month! Secure your spot, doors will open 10am, shows from 11am to 11pm


Folklore Festival 2023 welcomes the following artists to folklore community…



Vusi Mahlasela: The Voice, is Back!

Vusi Mahlasela, revered as "The Voice" of South Africa, celebrated for his distinct, powerful voice and his poetic, optimistic lyrics. With an illustrious career, Vusi has enchanted the world with seven mesmerizing studio albums, a testament to his extraordinary artistry. He’s collaborated with icons like Warren Haynes on"Soulshine" and the Dave Matthews Band on the heartrending anthem"Every Day." A luminary on global stages like Live 8 and Live Earth, as well as gracing the stage of the Nelson Mandela's historic inauguration in1994.d In 2012, the prestigious SAMA Awards celebrated his profound contributions with a lifetime achievement honor. Now, the anticipation rises as Vusi prepares to unveil his highly-awaited album, "Umoya," set to be released in late September. This extraordinary and deeply personal work marks Vusi’s first studio album of new songs in 13 years. The eagerly anticipated set was recorded at Flame Studios at Constitution Hill and produced by multiple Grammy Award winner JB Arthur. Working with a small crew of young musicians - several of whom are graduates of Vusi’s own music development foundation - Umoya is a welcome return to Vusi’s folk music roots. The Voice is Back!


Sho Madjozi: South Africa's Global Trailblazer

Step into the vibrant world of Sho Madjozi, where African heritage dances with cosmopolitan flair. This multi-award-winning artist has ignited the world's stage, captivating hearts and minds with her inimitable fusion of Tsonga, English, and Swahili languages, Gqom beats, Afro-pop rhythms, and bold fashion statements. With her chart-topping tracks and unmatched energy, Sho Madjozi is a force of nature that will leave you breathless. She will also be participating in our Book Fair sharing her children's book: ‘Sho Ma & The Stars’.



Discover the green charm of Thandeka Mfinyongo

Thandeka Mfinyongo is a musician born and raised in Nyanga East, Cape Town with extensive experience as a vocalist - as well as a uhadi and umrhubhe player. Mfinyongo who has completed a Masters degree in Music Performance at SOAS University of London, majoring in kora (an instrument from West Africa) draws inspiration from an older generation of musicians, such as Madosini, with whom she spends time with to learn and deepen her knowledge The stage is set for a captivating experience as diverse sounds across the continent are spotlighted, she will collaborate with the mesmerising vocal duo: Ancient Voices, featured on her set for an enchanting blend of African Indigenous Instruments and vocal harmony.


On the decks South Africa’s 26-year advocate for world and folk music Nicky B

Returning to the festival for a daytime set.Nicky Blumenfeld, who is popularly known as Nicky B (South Africa) is a dj, producer, compiler, writer, educator. For the past 26 years, she has been the producer-presenter of ‘The World Show’ on Johannesburg-based radio station Kaya FM 95.9 and has been at the forefront of pushing folk music in South Africa. Appealing to people from all over the world with her mix of urban, archival, deeply rooted, contemporary, cutting-edge sounds.



Makadem: The NyatitiNess Rises

Experience the hypnotic rhythm of the Nyatiti as Makadem, the talented Nyatiti musician from Kenya, takes the stage. Nyatiti music is  a contemporary style of African music,this fusion of the Nyatiti is a genre of music and an 8 stringed instrument ,a DhoLuo lyre, plucked with both hands from different sides producing a rhythmic trance sound accompanied by vocals from the Nyatiti player. The man sings in luo his mother tongue ,Swahili  and very Africanized English where  he tells great Nyatiti tales of mainly day today life in Afrika. Accompanied by the jazz virtuoso, Eddie Grey.



Eddie Grey is defined as a forerunner in the Jazz and fusion scene in East and Central Africa. Eddie is a self-taught musician who has established himself as a songwriter, producer and an amazing jazz guitarist. He describes his music as a compilation of stories and paintings that are refreshing to the senses and are a gateway to whichever world one's mind chooses to walk in. This self-taught musician has over the years continued to champion for the Jazz space in Kenya!





Josh Meck: A Bass Virtuoso

Let the award-winning jazz/world music artist, Josh Meck, lead you on a musical odyssey like no other. With his unmatched fusion of Zimbabwean traditional rhythms and jazz elements, his performance promises to leave you spellbound as he presents his new heritage project celebrating the icons of Zimbabwe folk, like the likes of Oliver Mtukudzi and more.

Josh who has six (6) albums to date, won the Zimbabwe Music Award (ZIMA) for best jazz album of the year for 2023 and performed Arts Alive, Jazz on the Lake 2014 in Soweto (South Africa), Toyota Drumbeat festival (South Africa) and Blantyre Arts Festival (Malawi).


Let Ancient Voices teleport you with the indigenous sonic waves of the xhosa people

Ancient Voices is a duo that was formed after Lungiswa Plaatjies and Nomapostile Nyiki met in 2014 at a Holland based Production titled "South African Road Trip" and made the decision to combine their passion for African Indigenous Instruments. In 2015 the group toured Holland for three months on a "Tribute to Nelson Mandela" theme and again in 2017 with the theme "Celebrating Life", due to popular demand. Ancient Voices will be featuring Mkhokeli "Kim" Masala at Folklore Festival 2023, who started exploring African musical instruments at the age of eight (8), having been influenced by the then Marimba bands who kept the township of Langa entertained. Some of these notable performances include Afro Fest in Toronto, Pan African Music Festival in Casablanca and Music Festival in Bangkok.





NSA choir and Band

The National School of The Arts Choir will take you on an odyssey of South African sounds. Celebrating the stories and music of notable plays, works and icons who have shared South African culture with the world. As part of the masterclass and mentorship program with the NSA, Pilani Bubu will be working with and collaborating with the choir for a short set of some of her Folklore Chapter 2 repertoire, due for release this November.


Folklore  - Dlala Piano

Pilani Bubu will be performing an experimental set to warm up the stage for Sho Madjozi, for an explorative Folklore project titled: Dlala Piano.  A folkloric dance album inspired by childhood play songs that resonate with the archetypal inner-child. Paying homage and reference to the dance culture of South Africa in the genres of afro-pop, amapiano, gqom and kwaito weaved with jazz an children’s voices. Co-produced by Pilani Bubu and Abraham Moughrabi of Jinn Records. This set features two storytellers: Pilani Bubu & Siyabonga Mthembu (Vox), Bokani Dyer & Abraham Moughrabi (On Keys), Simz Mshengu (on Drums and MPC), including Percussion and Mbira.




Immerse Yourself in the Folklore Festival Book Fair

Expand your horizons and embark on a journey through the Folklore Festival Book Fair. Meet extraordinary African childrens book authors like Zulaikha Patel of My Coily Crowny Hair, Zinhle Matthews, My Family of Superheroes, Amo and Nkuli Nkosi, Khanya's first day at the park & more. This literary haven is a testament to the power of words and stories in folk tales that transcend time and space, creating connections across cultures and generations.


Indulge in the Folklore Festival Food and Crafts Market

Treat your taste buds to an explosion of flavours at the Folklore Festival Food and Crafts Market. Discover unique, proudly African products crafted by talented artisans.


The Folklore Festival 2023 is proudly supported by the Department of Sports Arts and Culture and the National Arts Council, and produced by Bupila Publishing (Pty) Ltd T/A Bupila CreativeLifestyle CO.