First held in May 2000 to commemorate Africa Day and Month, the annual Sanaa Africa Festival celebrates the creative threads that bind us together as Africans and South Africans – showcasing the diversity of artistic talent on the continent.

The event, which starts on 25 May 2016, features a diverse programme of fine arts, fashion, poetry, dance, theatre and film, culminating in a music concert on Saturday 28 May which will see the Delivery Boys, Liqui Deep and Mango Groove wow the audience.

Meaning “a work of art or beauty” in KiSwahili, Sanaa works to empower local and African artists – providing them with a platform to share their talents and skills, create awareness about their work and grow their following.

A focus on new talent and up-and-coming artists also gives audiences the opportunity to discover rising stars – the likes of fashion designer Sandi Mabasa this year – and follow them on their journey going forward.

“All of this ensures that we’re able to support the arts in becoming sustainable, giving talented individuals a space to do what they love profitably and successfully,” says Nonhlanhla Matshazi, founder of Sanaa Africa.

Building on the success of previous years, the 2016 programme will feature a host of new and original works – some of them specially commissioned for the festival. “Borders”, a standalone contemporary dance work choreographed by award-winning dancer Fana Tshabalala from the Forgotten Angle Theatre Company, is one of these. The Market Theatre Laboratory’s celebration of Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary “uShakes”: Seshebo of Shakespeare in Africa is also set to wow and delight.

With so much to look forward to, festival sponsor the MTN Foundation and organisers recommend audience members book their online tickets from NuTickets as soon as possible.

“We look forward to joining everyone at Sanaa 2016 as we celebrate our collective heritage, talent and creative diversity – and the immense potential of South Africa and Africa – at this one-of-a-kind event,” says Claire Johnson, lead singer of Mango Groove.