Beyond Busking Project offers Cape Town's struggling street artists a lifeline

Sara-Jayne King speaks to Yusuf Ganief, executive chairperson of the Cape Town Festival.

  • The Beyond Busking Project forms part of the Cape Town Festival which gets underway on 15 June
  • Buskers are encouraged to audition at the Caste of Good Hope
  • Successful applicants will be provided training in song writing, vocal support and stage presence.
  • The project will culminate in October 2022 with the launch of the Cape Town Busking Festival which will be held at the Castle of Good Hope
In Europe and the US, many street performers can sustain themselves through their art, by performing impromptu pop-up performances around the city. Artists and not looked down upon for taking their performance to the streets, and are supported by locals and visitors alike. Street artists are also supported by local government, providing a platform for them to showcase their talents on a formal level by setting up mini festivals and shows throughout the year. Public art, street art, street performance and busking can offer unique entertainment with a local flavour that helps generate income and showcases the wealth of creative talent that a city has to offer. But sadly, in South Africa busking is not sustainable for local artists in comparison to international trends. Executive Chairperson of the Cape Town Festival Yusuf Ganief wants to change that narrative by launching the Beyond Busking Project, an upliftment programme that will identify talent and provide training for buskers.
The plan really is to upskill them to an international level. Yusuf Ganief, chairperson of the Cape Town festival
The programme will provide training in song writing, vocal training, stage presence, assistance in musical arrangement and equipment upgrades. Successful applicants will also enjoy free studio time, where they will work alongside musical composers and learn about musical arrangements. The project is being partly funded by the Western Cape’s department of cultural affairs and sport.
If you look at the London Busking Festival, you have the mayor supporting that throughout the year as well, which provides a sustainable income for the buskers. Yusuf Ganief, chairperson of the Cape Town festival
Our local artists don’t have those opportunities. They’re seen more as second grade artists and often as a nuisance. Yusuf Ganief, chairperson of the Cape Town festival
What we want to do is uplift that image. Change that image, Reimagine that image of busking in South Africa alongside any other art form in South Africa. Yusuf Ganief, chairperson of the Cape Town festival
The Cape Town Festival kicks off the Beyond Busking Project with auditions at the Castle of Good Hope on 15 June from 11am-3pm. Buskers will give a 15-20 minute performance to a panel of judges. For further information to apply for the auditions, please contact Thabo on 084 894 6890 or send your info, bio and contact details to

Cape Town Buskers Festival

Buskers!, Artists!, performers!, singers! and dancers! – if you have a crowd pulling, original act this is the call to audition for the new & improved 2018 Cape Town Buskers Festival which will be taking place this year from 1 to 11 November at the V & A Waterfront. These auditions will also be for the V&A Waterfront Summer season.

Cape Town Buskers Festival

5 – 8 October 2017

A partnership between the National Arts Festival, Cape Town Fringe and V&A Waterfront


80 amazing performances – street performers, circus acts, buskers, musicians, artists, clowns, mimes and entertainers… over four days at Africa’s most visited cultural and historical hub.

Smile FM - Making Music for Madiba

67 Buskers – 67 Minutes – 67 Street Corners

On Mandela Day, Tuesday 18 July, Smile 90.4FM will be Making Music for Madiba.

67 musicians will busk for 67 minutes in 67 different locations around Cape Town – anywhere they can get permission – e.g. on the street, in the office cafeteria, or in a shopping mall.

All 67 musicians will start busking simultaneously at 12:00 and finish at 13:07.

Each musician to register successfully will receive a Smile 90.4FM ‘Making Music for Madiba’ certificate, signboard and busking bucket.

All money collected during the 67 minutes of busking will be pooled and donated towards music development for underprivileged children.

Watch out for it on Mandela Day, Tuesday 18 July, on a street corner near you!