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5 performing spaces for Tumaini Festival

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The free Tumaini Festival, which is an annual music and cultural gathering held at Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa, takes place on Saturday.

The festival which started in 2014 and aims at promoting cultural exchange among refugees and Malawians seems to be growing every year and this year it will have five performing spaces.

The festival’s founder Menes la Plume real name Trésor Nzengu Mpauni, who is a Congolese slam poet, said despite not managing to get any funding from companies and organisations they were set for the festival.

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“Unlike in the previous two events, this year we are working with young talent from Dzaleka. We have five performing spaces, two built stages, one cultural ground, two indoor venues for theatre and poetry corners and we have three workshops,” he said.

Menes said they have workshops in Global Citizenship by Change for Change, Ubuntu and Theatre by Solomonic Peacocks.

“We also have a kids activity corner so we have lots of activities this year. We are even excited in that this year the Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development will officially open the festival,” said the artist.

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He said this will be the biggest Tumaini Festival since they started.

“We are glad that UNHCR and the Malawi government are now on board. It just shows that the work we started is having an impact on refugees and Malawi,” Menes said.

He said they were looking a achieving more things this year as well as bring more refugee awareness situation around the world, more media coverage and partnership.

“We also want to raise money to start building the Tumaini Arts and Cultural Centre by April next year,” said the founder.

Menes, who came to Malawi in 2008 as a political refugee said the festival is aimed at bringing joy and hopes to refugees hence the name ‘Tumaini,’ a Swahili word which means ‘Hope’.

Menes said the whole budget for the festival is US$ 13,000 but through Crowdfunding they managed to raise 6,000 Euros.

Forty six acts are expected to light this year’s festival and they include Arnaud Baana Enono from Cameroon, Chimz Kelly from Zambia, Crazy Colours, Faith Mussa, Jaco Jana, Jules Banda, Konkalazi, Malala, Q Malewezi, Agorosso, Robert Chiwamba, Waliko Makhala, Adrian Kwelepeta, Salama Africa Dance Crew, Mbanaye, Mwanache, Amahoro Dancers and Solomonic Peacocks.

Menes, who last year was featured on Aljazeera where he spoke about his life as a refugee and how he found himself at Dzaleka, said there were lots of artists in the camp, who are talented but lack the necessary platforms and that Tumaini was one of those platforms.

The refugee camp has shown its in the talent as it has produced dancing groups such as Salama Africa Dance Crew which went all the way to the grand finale of the Ka Jive Dance competition season two spearheaded by Times Group through Times Television.

Menes said despite standing up on their own through different initiatives, arts was neglected in the camp adding that there are no structures.

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