Ajabu Cocktail and Spirits Festival Set to Premiere in South Africa


, Africa’s first bi-annual international Cocktail and Spirits festival, is set to debut in Johannesburg and Cape Town next year, with the first of two week-long events taking place from March 10-18, 2024.


Curated by Colin Asare-Appiah (Bar World 100 Most Influential Figures 2023, Co-Author Black Mixcellence, Tales of the Cocktail Foundation’s 2023 Spirited Awards® Finalist: Best Bar Mentor) and Mark Talbot Holmes (founder of U’Luvka Vodka). AJABU aims to become Africa’s leading spirits and cocktail festival. It will not only connect the hospitality industry and their community across Africa and beyond, it will also inspire innovation, collaboration, and creativity, while celebrating the continent’s incredible diversity of people, ingredients, and beverages.


The word AJABU means ‘wondrous’ or ‘amazing.’ As the name suggests, the festival will embrace the wondrous diversity of the hospitality industry across Africa, connecting brands, bar trade, media and cocktail enthusiasts, while supporting a new generation of African bartenders and hospitality professionals.


Taking place in both Johannesburg (March 10-13) and Cape Town (March 13-18), AJABU will host each city’s most renowned venues for a line-up of exciting mashups. Participating award-winning international bars include Library by the Sea, Milady’s, Rayo and Trailer Happiness. These teams will partner with bars across Africa such as Front Back and Hero for a week of education sessions, spirited forums, wine tours, and hosted dinners at local Johannesburg and Cape Town venues. In Johannesburg, festival-goers can look forward to experiencing the unique offerings of bars such as Sin + Tax, Saint, Smoking Kills, Cin Cin Zioux, Mesh Club, and Marabi Club. Meanwhile, Cape Town will host festivities at Cause/Effect, Art of Duplicity, Chef’s Warehouse, Hacienda, The Drinkery, House of Machines, Asoka, and Talking to Strangers.

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“AJABU is a platform to celebrate Africa’s vibrant spirit and bartending culture,” exclaims Asare-Appiah. “We’re committed to fostering the growth of the hospitality industry across the continent by inspiring and empowering the bartending community to push the boundaries of their craft while providing a unique platform to showcase the diverse and rich culture of African drinks and ingredients.”


AJABU is thrilled to announce its partnership with local industry legends Kurt and Etienne Schlechter as well as award-winning writer & educator Leah Van Deventer as the team on the ground.


The festival will soon announce a lineup of the world’s best bars who will bring their creativity and knowledge to Johannesburg and Cape Town venues. Attendees can anticipate an unforgettable gathering of industry-leading professionals who will surprise and delight attendees with their creativity and innovation.


The March edition of AJABU will be followed by another week-long event across both cities in November, in partnership with Cape Town Beverage Show.


For more information, please visit ajabufestival.com