Who is Siyaya?


Firmly rooted in Makokoba, Bulawayo’s oldest township, Siyaya Arts was started in 1989 as NASA (Nostalgic Actors & Singers Alliance). We rechristened ourselves Siyaya (On the Move) during our 10th anniversary; a literal description of our journeys all over the world, as well as of an identity, an ethos and a heartfelt belief, the name could not be more apt. The ‘nostalgia’ Siyaya was founded upon refers to the powerful reinterpretation of traditional tales, music and dance, which is often brought to life by relating them to their modern derivatives. Touring throughout Europe, Africa and directed by Saimon Mambazo Phiri, Siyaya has gained a good reputation particularly for imaginative manipulation and use of social issues in our music. In 2006 Siyaya opened WOMAD Reading to good reviews and took the show Thatha to Edinburgh earning 5 star reviews from Metro & Independent. In 2005 we shared the stage with some respected world music artists at Live 8 Africa Calling concert at the Eden Project organised by WOMAD. We have just returned from Glastonbury Festival 2008 where we made our record 6th appearance further cementing our place in the world arts circuit.

The Shows

“Colourful, climactic and bursting at the seams with energy, the Zimbabwean song, dance and drum troupe Siyaya puts much of the competition to shame with Thatha. As one performer explains half way through: ‘For us, song and dance is not a luxury, but a necessity’ Their acoustic set relates the hard times and the joy of life on the African subcontinent. Siyaya’s rousing music and tightly choreographed dance transcends the language barrier. It’s a veritable Tour de force of African forms – traditional and contemporary. They use the heavier Ghanaian Djembe bass drum, alongside the smaller Zimbabwean Ngoma, with South African and Zimbabwean dance routines.

Current Productions



An audience favourite’ in the last 2 years! Fresh from Africa, colourful, climactic and bursting at the seams with energy, the spectacular celebration of song, dance and life in Africa returns to Europe. As seen at Glastonbury, Edinburgh, WOMAD, Africa Calling & Live 8. Travelling around Africa, treading over borders, crushing language barriers, Siyaya takes you on a journey that uncovers the joys of life through traditional and contemporary African song and dance. This is bound to take you to another level!



“Many Musics, Many Dances, One People” History meets today, social meets spiritual and political meets the ‘not so political’ to tell the story of Zimbabwe through song and dance. Stunning traditional & Township song & dance from the heart of the Townships in Bulawayo, celebrating the greatest African instrument – the human voice. Live on-stage the male & female singers, dancers, musicians and actors are exciting and uplifting.

“As temperature-raisers they are nothing short of spectacular! The jubilant enthusiasm is infectious and, by the end, this crowd is cheering for an encore.” Metro


Zambezi Express

Zambezi Express is the brand new show coming out in July 2009. With 30 artists from Zimbabwe celebrating the culture of Africa. Zambezi Express is a brilliant combination of music, dance , song and circus. A perfect chemistry of sight and sound. Out of Africa, Out of Breath! Now Taking Booking at www.zambeziexpress.com
Buy Tickets from All Gigs

Previous Festival Highlights

Some of the festivals Siyaya has been to since 1993…..

  • Aberdeen International Youth Festival (Scotland)
  • Towersey Festival (England)
  • Glastonbury Festival (England)
  • Pontardawe Festival (Wales)
  • Waterford Spraoi (Ireland)
  • WOMAD Reading Festival (England)
  • Malopo Festival (Pretoria, South Africa)
  • Edinburgh International Fringe Festival (Scotland)
  • Market Theatre Community Theatre Festival (S. Africa)
  • Ross On Wye International Festival (Wales)
  • Scena Church & Theatre Festival (Hanover Germany)
  • Panafest Historic Theatre Festival (Cape Coast, Ghana)
  • Streets Ahead Festival Manchester (England)
  • Sidmouth International Folk Festival (England)
  • Earagail Arts Festival (Ireland)
  • Swindon Festival (Swindon, England)
  • Commonwealth Games Spirit of Friendship Festival (UK)
  • Oldham Arts Festival (England)
  • Marlborough Jazz Festival (Marlborough, England)
  • Lamer Tree Festival (Salisbury, England)
  • Glastonbury International Dance Festival (England)
  • Umthwakazi Music Festival (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe)
  • Harare International Festival of the Arts (Zimbabwe)
  • Llangollen International Music Eisteddfod (Wales)
  • Buxton Fringe (Buxton, England)
  • Sfinks Festival (Brussels, Belgium)
  • Rythms of the World Festival (Wichin, UK)
  • Ibumba International festival (Zimbabwe)
  • WOMAD Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates)

Media Highlights

  • Zimbabwe TV (ZTV) Various arts and music programmes
  • TV Hannover (Germany)
  • CNN World News during WOMAD 2001
  • BBC News at 10pm September 2001
  • BBC Radio
  • BBC Ireland
  • BBC Network Africa
  • Various International TV and Radio Stations during Live 8

Special & Prominent Events Highlights

  • Amnesty International Concert 2001 (York, England)
  • Cultural Heritage Choir / Siyaya / Black Voices Concert at Library Theatre (Sheffield, England, October 2002)
  • Bulawayo-Beitbridge Railway Launch 1998 (Beitbridge, Zimbabwe)
  • BBC Radio 4 Advertisement with Benjamin Zephaniah (Womad 2001, Reading, England)
  • Free Mandela Youth Music Concert 1994 (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe)
  • Miss Zimbabwe Pageant 2000 (Harare Zimbabwe)
  • MODAL Arts Promoters Convention 2003 (Nottingham, England)
  • Live 8 Concert at the Eden Project (Cornwall 2005)
  • ICC Cricket World Cup (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe)
  • Commonwealth Games Spirit of Friendship Festival (Manchester, England)
  • Zimbabwe Independence Silver Jubilee Celebrations (Rome, Italy)

Previous Venue Highlights

Some of the venues Siyaya has been seen since 1993…..

  • Alliance Francaise de Harare (Harare, Zimbabwe)
  • Lemon Tree Studio Theatre (Aberdeen, Scotland)
  • His Majesty’s Theatre Aberdeen, Scotland
  • Spectrum Centre (Inverness, Scotland)
  • Bulawayo Theatre (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe)
  • Harare International Conference Centre (Zimbabwe)
  • Market Theatre Laboratory (Johannesburg, South Africa)
  • Township Square Centre (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe)
  • Stanley Hall (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe)
  • Accra Exhibition Centre (Accra, Ghana)
  • Bulawayo City Hall (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe)
  • Strode Theatre (Street, England)
  • Angrian Theatre (Letterkenny, Ireland)
  • Theatre Pilkentafel (Flensburg, Germany)
  • Elimina Castle (Cape Coast, Ghana)
  • Aberdeen Arts Centre (Aberdeen, Scotland)
  • Eden Project (Cornwall, England)
  • The Cube Theatre (Bristol, England)
  • Clarks Village (Street, England)
  • Africa Centre (London, England)
  • Strode College (Street, England)
  • Simunye Café Bar (Sheffield, England)
  • Mwlder Theatre Cardigan (Wales)
  • Mamelodi Hall (Mamelodi, South Africa)
  • 7 Arts Theatre (Harare Zimbabwe)
  • The Dance House (Manchester, England)
  • Brecon Arts Centre (Brecon, Wales)
  • Aberystwyth Arts Centre (Aberystwyth, Wales)
  • Bracknell Arts Centre (England, England)
  • Subscriptions Room (Stroud England)
  • Brewhouse Theatre (Taunton, England)
  • Phoenix Arts Centre (Leicester, England)
  • Tower Clock Arts Centre (Winchester, England)
  • Contact Theatre (Manchester, England)
  • Butts Theatre (Coventry, England)
  • Doncaster Town Hall (Doncaster, England)
  • Llangollen International Pavilion
  • Pavilion Theatre (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Angrian Theatre (Letterkenny, Ireland)
  • Birnam Institute Dunkeld (Scotland)
  • Sheffield United Football Ground (Platinum Suite)
  • Lochinver Village Hall (Sutherland, Scotland)
  • Black Wood Miners Institute (Cardiff Wales)
  • Theatre in Kiel (Germany)
  • Crucible Theatre Festival (Sheffield, England)
  • Swansea Grand Theatre (Swansea, Wales)
  • Smirnoff Underbelly (Edinburgh, Scotland)
  • Aberdeen Music Hall (Aberdeen, Scotland)
  • Emirates Palace – Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates)
  • Al Ain Fort (Al Ain, United Arab Emirates)

Collaboration Highlights

  • Bridges with Aberdeen’s Shiftwork Physical Theatre Company (1995)
  • Koengskinder (Abantwana Benkosi) – with Rangi Moja and Splendid Women’s
  • Theatre of Hildesheim Germany (1997)
  • Romeo & Juliet with Harare’s Over the Edge Theatre and Manchester’s award winning Feelgood Theatre Productions (2002)
  • IKOKO with Manchester based Abasindi Women Drummers (2003)
  • ZAMBEZI EXPRESS with Wookey Productions (2009)
Siyaya willed a casual mid-afternoon WOMAD audience into whooping ovations through sheer musicality and energy

See Siyaya Live

  Date Show Location