Baf gears for 2022
Having failed to take place last year due to Covid, Blantyre Arts Festival (Baf) is also not taking place this year.
Baf Executive Director Thom Chibambo said Tuesday that, with Covid, they cannot go ahead with the festival despite the government loosening restrictions recently.
“We are not holding it largely due to Covid and ,again, our venue, Blantyre Cultural Centre (BCC), is not fully renovated especially the amphitheatre and so we don’t have any other venue,” Chibambo said.
He said it is not possible for them to host Baf excluding the amphitheatre, where all their main activities are held.
“Secondly all our sponsors cannot be engaged to sponsor us at such a short notice as our festival takes place in October. We are only remaining with three months and, so, we have decided to skip this year once again and get ready for 2022 and preparations are underway,” Chibambo said.
He said other activities they are doing in readiness for 2022 include supporting communities and schools with Covid prevention materials.
“With support from World Connect Malawi, Hannover City, Segal Family Foundation, Hivos and Friends of Malawi Circle in Germany, we are helping communities and schools who have always been part and parcel of the festival. We want them to be safe so as to be part of the 2022 fiesta,” Chibambo said.
“We are in discussions with other partners to support our initiative to help schools with Covid response materials. Our Baf matron Silvia Hesse from Germany, through Malawi Friends Circle, are in there to support us,” Chibambo added.
He said they were hopeful that they would roll out the programme when schools open.
“By 2022, we are hopeful that things will be in full swing and countries will have reopened for travel. Our festival attracts both local and international artists and it would be difficult for some of them to travel,” Chibambo said.
The festival, which started in 2009, has hosted several artists including Mali’s Salif Keita and Jamiaca’s Mutabaruka through Poetry Africa.
“We are also looking at helping in sensiting the masses to go for vaccination in the fight against the pandemic. But we are thankful for all the partners that have helped us throughout including Osisa and the Germany Embassy,” Chibambo said.
Baf is one of the top festivals in the country.
So far, some of the top festivals that will be taking place this year include Sand Music and Tumaini. Hangout is another festival that has announced its activity.