To contact us, please call: +27 (0)11 685 7300



Welcome to all Marimba and Steelpan Enthusiasts,

It is with great pride and pleasure that we welcome you to Education Africa's 7th International Marimba and Steelpan Festival. This festival is now regarded as the largest festival of its kind in the world bringing together like-minded people from all corners of the world to participate in this exciting event.

Our 7th Festival follows on from the highly successful 6th Education Africa International Marimba and Steelpan Festival held in July 2017 where 2000 participants from all over South Africa as well as Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Botswana took part . We are looking forward to welcoming participants in 2018 from all over the world.

Through tremendous effort made in the past decade by various marimba and steelpan manufacturers, individuals, educational institutions and NGOs marimba-playing and steelpan-playing have become sought-after activities by youth of all socio-economic backgrounds in South Africa.

It is interesting that there is only evidence of two communities in South Africa who ever played a truly African xylophone/marimba. These are the Venda and the Shangana/Tsonga people, both from the far north of South Africa. However, these instruments are now totally obsolete.

However, since the 1970s when marimbas were brought down from Zimbabwe to South Africa a growing tradition of marimba playing has developed. We now have a large community of marimba players playing on a variety of marimba instruments throughout South Africa.

Andrew Tracey, the world authority on African Music and South Africa's very own "traditional music guru" introduced steelpans to South Africa in 1969 after his highly successful world tour of "Wait a Minim" with Jeremy Taylor. He immediately started his own steel band and the rest is history. Through his students and band members steelpan playing has flourished in South Africa and is alive and well in schools all over South Africa.

Marimba playing has become very popular all over the world in the last century. In some parts of the world there are marimba bands similar to the ones we find in South Africa while in other parts of the world we find orchestral marimba ensembles that concentrate on classical and light music repertoire. There are also many great solo marimba players who travel the world.

Steelpan ensembles are found all over the world and are a great source of entertainment to all who listen to them. Solo steelpan performers are fast growing in the world and one of the foremost solo performers, Andy Narell is one of the Festival's patrons.

This Marimba and Steelpan Festival is open to all marimba bands/ensembles and steelpan bands/ensembles as well as Orff ensembles from all over the world.

We welcome you all to our Festival and our wonderful country, South Africa.

Happy music-making!

James Urdang
CEO and Founder

Suniti Kala Hooper
Projects Director

Joan Lithgow
Festival Director

Thami Ngwenya
Festival Assistant