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Baf seeks to remain vibrant ahead of fest

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Blantyre Arts Festival (Baf) has said it wants to be involved in more productive programmes aimed at unearthing talent and building skills ahead of its main festival in October.

Baf, which returned in 2017 after a one-year break, is involved in the Fit to Life project that will see them training youths from nine districts in the Southern Region.

The organisers came out early to announce that this year’s festival would be held from October 5 to 7.

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“We, as Baf, want to make sure that we remain active throughout. We want to come up with different productive programmes that will help in unearthing talent but also developing skills. This is why we have the Fit for Life project,” Baf’s Executive Director, Thom Chibambo, said yesterday.

The festival, which opened its chapter in 2009, last week held training in Mwanza District, thereby kick-starting the Fit for Life project.

The climax of the training in Mwanza was on Sunday, when participants showcased activities that reflected their levels of skill.

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Chibambo maintained that youths remain under-utilised in the country and, yet, it is the most active segment of society.

“It is evident that the youth are excluded from development programmes due to inadequate skills and experience; hence, Baf’s decision to embark on Fit to Life project to build skills.

We hope to keep the project productive throughout until we get to the main festival in October,” Chibambo said.

Baf is implementing the Fit for Life project with support from the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa.

The project is also supported by other Baf partners, including Hivos Foundation and the Germany Embassy.

“Since we started the festival, we have been on our toes, in terms of getting feedback, and this is why we, as a festival, thought it wise to be vibrant with different programmes. The Fit for Life project will see us dating nine districts. With more resources, we can reach out to all districts in the country,” he said.

Chibambo has indicated that some of the participants in the programme will have a chance to showcase their works during the main festival.

“In Mwanza, we engaged close to 34 youths from different youth clubs and youth networks. The training tackled, among other things, entrepreneurship, arts and craft, visual arts and poetry,” Chibambo said.

The training, according to Chibambo, also tackled issues of organisational management and proposal skills.

At the end of the training, the youth received certificates of participation.

Mwanza District Youth Officer, Lucius Fanuel, has since urged the youth to be more productive and use the skills gained from the training to sustain their clubs and organisations.

He hailed Baf for the training, saying it had come at the right time as youths are looking for more platforms that would facilitate their participation in the development of the country

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