Traditionally scheduled as a ten-day mega event in October every year, the Mangaung African and Cultural Festival (Macufe) is set to return this year after it was shelfed on account of Covid-19 restrictions in 2020.
Sept. 14, 2022
4 min read
The biggest festival returns to Bloemfontein
Macufe Gospel for those with a passion for the more spiritual side of music and song (old picture)
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Every year in early October, Bloemfontein (now known as Mangaung) comes alive to the deep rhythm and soulful beat of the Macufe. This festival lasts for an impressive 10 days, and gives local and international talent a chance to shine.
Under the umbrella of the main festival, musical styles like jazz, hip-hop, gospel, kwaito, classical, rock and R&B are enjoyed and celebrated by talented musos from South Africa and abroad. These artists have, over recent years, included international and local stars like Brandy, Tiwa Savage, and Lady Zamar. Every year, around 140 000 spectators come to Bloemfontein, South Africa, to enjoy the incredible show. It has clearly made its mark on the international entertainment calendar.
This year’s return of Macufe has raised hopes in the arts and culture industry. Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela announced during her State of the Province Address that the cultural event will be held this year after it cancelled in 2020 following the outbreak of COVID-19.
From the colourful streets to the beautifully crafted artworks and the soulful, melodic and rhythmic sounds to the vibrant and sporting personalities, the Free State capital of Bloemfontein is usually abuzz during the Macufe festival.
The announcement of Macufe's return was made by Ntombela, as part of her many other plans that she has for the province in 2022. The department announced in 2021 they will host a virtual Macufe, however, the idea never saw the light of day.
In addition to the main music festival, there are other subsidiary aspects to Macufe too. These are:
Macufe Comedy where you are expected to laugh until your stomach hurts as you enjoy some comedic legends sharing the stage with newer talent. In the past, acts like Joey Rasdien, Trevor Gumbi and Mpho Popps have kept the audience in stitches.
Macufe Gospel for those with a passion for the more spiritual side of music and song, the praise leaders of South Africa congregate at the Macufe Festival to sing praises and gospels from their heart.
Macufe Divas where international female artists unite to put on a show to be remembered. These range from local stars to internationally acclaimed names.
The Macufe Festival promises to be a vibrant celebration of South African, African, and international music. Music fans from around the world are invited to enjoy the talent and all of the festivities that go along with it.
Majority think Macufe will bring a lot of opportunities back that COVID has messed up a lot it (old picture)
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At least R3 million was allocated by the National Department of Sport, Arts and Culture to the Free State for the Mangaung African Cultural festival - Macufe - in the previous financial year, 2021.
The latest R3 million (2021/2022) that was allocated, was to the provincial Arts and Culture Council for Macufe. Another R1 million was allocated to the province for the Famo Cultural Mine Dance Festival in the same year.
This year, according to the SABC reports, Macufe is making a comeback and many artists, businesses and entertainment enthusiasts can’t wait to grab the opportunity, with some artists calling on Macufe organisers to look at local performers first.
“Personally I feel like a lot of people from Bloemfontein themselves are going to benefit from it working wise. They going to benefit making money and stuff like that. I think it’s going to bring a lot of opportunities back that COVID has messed up a lot it.”
“I’m so glad about it , I’m very happy, I can’t wait for Macufe to come back in Bloemfontein.”
“I’m feeling great but the question is about the game that we usually have on the last day of Macufe.”
“People will usually ask when is Macufe, we want that vibe. We just want to benefit.”
These are some of the sentiments from festival goers according to the SABC.
SABC said some artists in Mangaung had this to say.
“You know the artist that are not working because of COVID but now because of Macufe coming back, Free State is going to do wonders. I know most of the actors, directors and producers, they are going to get some jobs, it is something that is very important.”
“We are hoping whatever festival that they are going to do is going to start from home first and benefit artists that are in the Free State. We are excited but we don’t know what kind of festival they are going to present.”
“This festival best believe that it will provide a lot of opportunities for us. I have never attended one but I’m looking forward to it this year because I feel like it’s going to be even bigger and better granted that everyone is hungry to be on stage again.”
To avoid disappointment it is advisable to book your accommodation well in advance for this event. Visit the Bloemfontein Accommodation pages to find guest houses, hotels and self-catering places to stay and for additional info about Bloemfontein which includes attractions, restaurants and things to do, see Bloemfontein Info.