* To be spiced by foreign artists Temp Trio from Hannover, Germany and Kasama Arts from Zambia
* We want artists to becomes a vehicle to spread messages and precaution measures to be taken to combat climate change’s negative effects
* BAF and its partners would like to become part of that environment conservation solution in Malawi
By Duncan Mlanjira
Bearing in mind that climate change is affecting the whole world — Malawi not being exceptional — this year’s Blantyre Arts Festival (BAF) will be celebrated theme; ‘Climate Resilience Through Cultural Preservation’ to be held at Njamba Freedom Park.
At a press conference at Amaryllis Hotel in Blantyre, BAF’s founder and Executive Director, Thomas Chibambo, said they decided to go on the ‘green’ campaign because they want artists “to becomes a vehicle to spread messages and precaution measures to be taken to combat climate change’s negative effects”.
“BAF and its partners would like to become part of that environment conservation solution in Malawi,” he said, adding that climate change has triggered several natural disasters in Malawi — the recent being Cyclone Ana in January this year.
“That nasty tropical storm devastated many parts of the country, the most being the Lower Shire that destroyed power generation infrastructure at Kapichira Hydro Power Station.
“We are experiencing many challenges, both economic and social due to the incessant power load shedding, thus we considered it wise that we should all join hands to spread the campaign of solving the environmental degradation that leads to climate change,” he said.
After a two-year break due to CoVID-19, BAF is back in full swing whose high-profile artists include include Kasama Arts from Zambia; Temp Trio from Hannover, Germany — to share the stage alongside Malawi’s great artists, the Black Missionaries; Ethel Kamwendo Banda; Gloria Manong’a; Agoroso and Skeffa Chimoto
As usual it will be spiced by other performances in poetry; comedy; cultural dances and visual arts. There will also be training workshops in arts management; cultural music productions; theatre productions; arts and cultural entrepreneurship and many more.
Past festivals’ foreign artists included Mutabaruka from Jamaica, Salif Keita from Mali and Rebecca Malope from South Africa and Chibambo said discussions are still in progress with more artists and will be announced in due course.
He said the festival’s usual venue is at Blantyre Cultural Centre at Chichiri but as it is undergoing renovations, Njamba Freedom Park was the alternative with blessings from Blantyre City Council — who are one of the official partners.
To be held for two days — from October 8-9, BAF 2022 — has been made possible with the support from UNESCO Malawi Commission; The Federal Republic of the Germany Embassy in Malawi; Friends of Malawi Circles in Germany; Hannover City; First Capital Bank; Amaryllis Hotel; World Connect Malawi; Entertainers Promotions; aware&fair; Chibuku — amongst others.
Chibambo said the BAF 2022 will be for free for everyone for first time, saying “BAF believes that arts and culture is part of human rights consumption — therefore we would like to reach out to everyone to appreciate arts and culture without limitations”.
“BAF would like appreciate our partners’ support by reaching out to many people to whom they want to reach with their corporate brands and services.
“It is also for us to reach out to the public effectively to intensify the awareness of cultural implementation policy. BAF would like to appreciate the arts and cultural productions by providing such big platform, which can be accessed and being appreciated by more people thereby promoting inclusiveness.”
He added that going forward, BAF wants to set this as one of the Blantyre City Council free annual arts and cultural festival — “as a platform that can attract corporate society and organisation’s support towards the promotion of arts and culture in Malawi”.
The organisers will set several amenities at the venue, that include all health and security precautions by the Police services and other security agencies; mobile toilets; hand washing water buckets; sanitation members from Blantyre City Council; volunteers to collect litters.
“We will run gen set for power out-put at the venue for adequate lights and that the festival will only be held during the day on both days to provide conducive pleasure for the audience.
“The festival will be presented for free but people are being assured that BAF will not comprise its out-put in terms of proper organisation, performing artists and sound production out-put.
“Entertainer Promotion will plant their heavy sound equipment and their big stages,” said Chibambo, while requesting corporate and organisations “to partner with it in its exciting arts and cultural festival.”
Individuals are encouraged to elect their stalls at a modest fee — cultural and traditional food; drinks and productions & services stalls.