Start: 29/09/2023 12:00
End: 01/10/2023 00:00

Bringing the WORLD to your doorstep!

WOMAD SA expands its offering with multiple genres.

Following on from the inaugural WOMAD South African Safari in 2022, WOMAD “The World of Music, Arts and Dance”, 2023 brings“the world to your doorstep” with an exciting and diverse cultural mix of music, theatre, dance, literature, spoken word, visual arts, and fashion.

These unique intimate events will be held in Cape Town, !Khwa ttu SAN Heritage Centre, Johannesburg, Middelburg, and Mapungubwe from September 23 to October 7.

WOMAD @ The Market in Joburg hosts a three-day intensive series of performances and workshops (29 September to 1 October) in and around the Market Theatre Precinct. This ambitious and eclectic self-contained festival serves as a catalyst for Joburg’s inner-city cultural rejuvenation.

The John Kani Theatre hosts a diverse variety of musically-themed concerts.

Friday night’s official opening presents an exciting two-header entitled "Ancestral Latin Connection". Embedded with a strong sense of indigenous tradition, the dynamic, award-winning 15-member Herencia de los Rios from Colombia celebrates WOMAD SA’s "twinning" partnership with the Petronio Álvarez Pacific Music Festival in the city of Cali.

"Fandá": An African/Spanish Story" is a conceptual musical theatre piece that explores the African origins of flamenco and traces the paths of slavery through imperial Seville and beyond. Directed, composed, and libretto by César Tovar Cruz, with live music by Rey Chams from Spain, Nobuhle, the guitars of Micah Myles and Lebz Muzo from South Africa, and narration by Ghaisik from Nigeria.

On Saturday 30th of September, The Music Arena presents the Maskandi Showcase at the renowned Market Theatre in Johannesburg. This electrifying event will feature mesmerizing performances of the much-loved South African genre Maskandi. The line-up includes new-age Maskandi artist, who's part of the bhinca culture, Felikhono, and veteran multi-award winning Maskandi group Imithente. Prepare to be immersed in a night of traditional music, culture, and historical nostalgia! Don't miss this opportunity to experience the pulse of South African music at its finest under the spotlight of The Music Arena home to Gallo Music and Content Connect Africa.


Saturday’s "African Voyage of Discovery" matinee concert features Senegalese mbalax superstars Saintrick et Les Tchielly, The spiritually uplifting Atse Tewodros Project from Ethiopia, and Guinean kora superstar N’Faly Kouyate, the "Jimi Hendrix of the kora", N’Faly Kouyate from Guinea.

Also on Saturday, American all-girl country group The Merlettes, featuring our very own AuzTebza, will launch their new collaboration in an intimate concert at AMPD Studios.

Sunday’s closing matinee "Legends Concert" honours South African icons The Mahotella Queens, African Jazz Pioneers, and Vusi Mahlasela.


The newly renovated Kippies is the venue for experimental theatre works and will host a blend of fresh performances from young artists. The sets of work delve into questions of identity, hope, well-being, and historic awareness. The programmed pieces in the intimate 50-seater space promise an engaging journey for the audience, who will be able to encounter several genres being challenged alongside inventive storytelling elements. Two of these performances feature Standard Bank Ovation Award winner Vuyiseka Maguga’s "Songs of Hope".

 The Mannie Manim Theatre hosts Blacksmith, the 2022 Zwakala Festival winners. Thabo Ramaine and Lonwabo Bhele bring their thought-shifting production to WOMAD, in perfect synchrony with the spirit of Heritage Month. This production confronts the pivotal moments that have shaped the African trajectory under the weighty yoke of colonialism.

 The Barney Simon Theatre presents Skin We Are In, a play with music for young audiences that offers fresh, science-backed perspectives on race and diversity. It is based on the popular book by Sindiwe Mgoma and Nina Jablonksi. The small company of exciting young talents takes its name from the isiZulu interjection, which, loosely translated, means ‘It’s on fire!’

The iconic Nikki’s Oasis will celebrate its 28-year legacy by hosting a programme of international and local jazz.

 The JazzLand exhibition and installation were created in dialogue with jazz appreciators in Katlehong. Ngoma kaMphahlele’s work takes us into the sounds and life of what he has termed JazzLand, an intergenerational confluence of music, image, and life with an augmented reality element that embeds videos, sound, and interactive multimedia content onto the exhibited photographs.

Another exciting offering includes a Visual Arts component curated by Sara Hallatt from OpenStudios.Joburg and the META Foundation. This programme connects and extrapolates the music visually and provides festival audiences with a multisensory experience that is both memorable and immersive while introducing local visual artists to new audiences.