How to build bridges between Brazil and Africa

By Rafaela Piccin

SIM São Paulo is a big catalyzer of meetings: market professionals from various Brazilian states and countries around the world take part, be it for strengthening existing partnerships or to search for new contacts. With this in mind, the series Humans of SIM brings to you stories of people who attend the event and thereby expand their horizons. The first episode is about Beth Achitsa, one of the founders of ONGEA!, a music fair in Kenya, Africa.

In a globalized world, the importance of conventions and music fairs tends to grow. If, on one hand, African influence in Brazil is very old, on the other hand, the dialogue between the two markets is still in development, and SIM São Paulo is working on it.

Beth Achitsa, one of the members of the team who delivers ONGEA!, a music expo that has been taking place in Nairobi for four years, attended SIM 2018 in order to talk about the event and the reality of those who work with music in Eastern Africa. During her stay in São Paulo, she shared the table with festival and music convention organizers, from Fuji Rock and the Palestine Music Expo.

“I think with music, it is increasingly becoming important to create a network of peers and collaborators. This for me is the most important take away from SIM. I developed a lot of good contacts and got to renew some that I had met elsewhere.”, she says.

In 2017, she met SIM director Fabiana Batistela in the Reeperbahn fair in Hamburg (Germany), where they spoke about each other’s work. The chat was very fruitful and, in the following year, Beth became part of the panel program. In February 2019, SIM was in Nairobi represented by councillor Maithe Bertolini.

The good connections at SIM also generated an invitation for the fourth edition of the MAPAS fair, which was held this time in Tenerife, in the Canary Islands (Spain).

Beth is very enthusiastic about her plans to work in bringing the Kenyan and African markets closer to the Brazilian and Latin American markets. For her, exchange programs and residences are a great way for artists and cultures to learn about each other. While visiting us, she realized that there’s a lot of interest in such connections. “Beyond the immediate spinoffs from attending SIM I believe it is one of the markets where people are open to ideas. I met a lot of artists who are really keen on the African market and while the Kenyan market is relatively small compared to other markets, I think there are still opportunities for artists to collaborate.”, she says.

She keeps an open mind about welcoming people from all over the planet who wish to learn about the African market, starting in the Eastern part of the continent, at ONGEA!

She also recommends Sauti Za Busara, another event in Eastern Africa, in Zanzibar. Heading south, she recommends the emerging music circuit known as iGODA, which incorporates five festivals. They are: Azgo, in Mozambique; MTN Bushfire in Swaziland; Bassline in Johannesburg (South Africa); Zakifo in Durban (South Africa); and Sakifo, in Reunion - making May a very good month to visit the continent.

Reiterating the invite to build bridges between Brazil and Africa, Beth concludes: “I hope this year more African professionals can get to attend SIM and have a greater representation of the music industry on the continent and vice versa for Brazil professionals.”.


Translation by: Victor Fraga

  • contact