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Basha Uhuru Freedom Festival: A Creative Celebration of Youth and Expression



Constitutional Hill in Gauteng excitedly buzzed as the Basha Uhuru Freedom Festival united the province’s creative community. From June 21 to 24, this immersive festival captivated attendees with a vibrant lineup of artistic experiences, showcasing the power of creativity and celebrating the spirit of freedom.

Founded in 2012, the Basha Uhuru Freedom Festival pays homage to the brave youth who fought for their right to choose during the Soweto 1976 Uprising. By allowing today’s youth to explore their creativity and express themselves freely, the festival has evolved into a renowned platform for artistic expression in Gauteng.

As ConHill’s signature youth festival, Basha Uhuru has gained significant popularity over the past decade, growing from an audience of 2,000 in 2012 to over 7,000 in 2019. Embodying its name, which combines Kiswahili and Setswana, Basha Uhuru fosters social cohesion and shared identity among young people beyond South Africa’s borders.

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The festival has become one of Gauteng’s largest youth arts events, attracting diverse youth from various cultural backgrounds to Constitutional Hill during Youth Month. Serving as a safe and thought-provoking environment, it offers many opportunities for emerging professionals and entrepreneurs in the creative industry. Participants can learn, gain inspiration, share skills, nurture talent, network, collaborate, and engage in conversations shaping the creative sector.


Owned, registered, and trademarked by Constitution Hill, Basha Uhuru is one of two event properties aimed at driving tourism to Gauteng. Now in its 11th year, Basha Uhuru has transcended being a once-off yearly event and has become an “always on” program integrated into the larger Creative Uprising initiative.

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Creative Week Conference: June 21–23

The Basha Uhuru Freedom Festival started with the Creative Week Conference, a comprehensive showcase of creativity that brought together established and aspiring artists to inspire, display their talents, and fuel their creative spirits. Each conference day focused on creative aspects, featuring masterclasses, panel discussions, workshops, and dialogues.

Kirsty Niehaus, Nando’s marketing manager for the creative portfolio, emphasised the transformative power of creativity in changing lives. Nando’s, a proud supporter of Basha Uhuru, showcased their homegrown emerging talent, the Nandoca Uhuru, on the market stage.


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Sounds of Freedom Music Festival: June 24

The festival reached its crescendo on June 24 with the Sounds of Freedom Music Festival. Curated to provide a platform for up-and-coming artists and fresh talent, this year’s music festival featured renowned local megastars. DJ Zinhle, Kwesta, Samthing Soweto, Shekhinah, and other exceptional performers graced the stage with a special guest performance by Thebe, the recipient of the Basha Uhuru Music Legacy Award.

Dawn Robertson, CEO of Constitution Hill, acknowledged how Basha Uhuru had given birth to The Creative Uprising, an ongoing program that includes the Creative Hub, established in 2020. The hub aims to grow and support Gauteng’s creative economy with a focus on development, collaboration, and upskilling creatives.

Warrick Wyngaard, brand manager for Sol Beer, expressed pride in partnering with Basha Uhuru, highlighting the project’s commitment to youth development and promoting local creativity.


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The Creative Uprising

The Creative Uprising embodies a youth movement characterised by a creative, open-minded, and non-conforming community at the heart of urban culture, inspired by music, art, and creativity. Launched in 2020, this ongoing program supports diverse creatives, including makers, artisans, craftspeople, illustrators, entertainers, artists, and digital designers. Members gain access to studio spaces, business support, education, market opportunities, networking events, and various platforms for self-expression. The program features seminars, masterclasses, dialogues, and capacity-building initiatives throughout the year.

Rather than focusing on commercial outcomes, the festival prioritises creative enrichment and development. The organisers leverage funds to maximise impact, emphasising the festival’s commitment to nurturing artistic talent and fostering a thriving creative community.

The Basha Uhuru Freedom Festival is a testament to the power of creativity, youth empowerment, and freedom of expression. With its vibrant events, inclusive atmosphere, and dedication to the creative economy, it catalyses change and inspiration in Gauteng.


Source: Youth express their creativity at the Basha Uhuru Freedom Festival

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Photo: Supplied by Rosebank Killarney Gazette

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