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Baf challenges artists

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The organisers of the Blantyre Arts Festival (Baf), to be held from October 5 to 7, have called on artists in the country to wake up from their slumber and develop interest in applying for different festivals.

Baf Executive Director, Thom Chibambo, said Tuesrday that many local acts were not doing enough in terms of making applications.

Baf called for applications from artists for the 2018 edition which closed on March 20.

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However, according to Chibambo few local artists have applied.

“We received more applications from outside Malawi. I think artists in Malawi need to know the importance of applying for festivals and pushing their buttons,” Chibambo said.

He said the applications should not only be for Baf but other festivals.

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“Festivals increase artists’ visibility and this is what artists in West Africa are doing,” Chibambo said.

He said they used different platforms to reach out to artists on the call for applications including social media.

He could not be drawn to say when they would release the line-up of the festival.

Last year, the festival was 100 percent local and the artists included reggae group Black Missionaries.

Meanwhile, Chibambo has said the Fit For Life youth creative training programme they have been conducting in the Southern region has helped equip many youths with skills.

With support from Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (Osisa) and Hivos Foundation through Cultural Fund for Malawi, Germany Embassy, and other partners, Baf has been imparting necessary skills and knowledge in the youth.

“The training was in various sectors of arts including theatre, poetry and visual arts. The youth were also equipped with entrepreneurial skills which will help them with knowledge of marketing their creative products,” he said.

Chibambo said the six months project started in October during the festival where trainer from Zimbabwe, Teddy Magawa, drilled the youth on physical theatre performance.

“The trainings in the districts also exposed a lot of gaps in as far as communication is concerned. There is talent out there but youths are not aware of some of the programmes and do not know how to go about it,” Chibambo said.

“We are looking for partners to extend this programme to the Northern and Central regions. We are happy that from the districts we covered such as Mwanza, Blantyre and Mulanje, youths from different organisations and schools gained a lot and are now ready to come out.”

Youths in Balaka, Mulanje, Chikwawa and Mwanza, among others, have since called on Baf to organise more trainings in poetry, theatre and communication for them to develop fully, observing that the trainings conducted were short.

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