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Berlin showdown at Blantyre Arts Festival

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As part of supporting the creative industry in the country but also showing its commitment to the partnership between Germany and Malawi, some of the photographs from Berlin, one of Germany’s cities, will be exhibited at this year’s Blantyre Arts Festival (BAF).

BAF will be held from October 6 to 8 at two venues – Blantyre Cultural Centre (BCC) and Jacaranda Cultural Centre (JCC).

Germany Ambassador to Malawi, Juergen Borsch, said yesterday that they were excited to be part of BAF.

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Borsch said they have since handed over more than 30 photographs to BAF, which will be exhibited at BCC.

The photographs, among other things, tell the story of Berlin and how it has moved up to this time.

“This is part of strengthening the relationship between Germany and Malawi. We will be there at BAF and, from these photographs, people can be able to learn more about Berlin, appreciate some of its historical places, the culture and the different languages,” the Ambassador said.

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He also revealed that Hannover in Germany and Blantyre in Malawi were twin cities and that this is strongly strengthened through the festival.

BAF Executive Director, Thom Chibambo, said, on October 5, there will be a festival preview where the Ambassador will talk about the cultural exchange between Malawi and Germany.

BAF will have this preview so that it outlines various programmes of the whole festival.

During this preview, there will also be a presentation from Japanese Martial Arts film courtesy of the Japanese Embassy.

A representative of the Japanese Embassy will also talk about Japanese Martial Arts and what it has contributed to Malawi in the cultural exchange programmes between Malawi and Japan.

Meanwhile, two artists from Hannover in Germany — Arne and Masha — will be performing at the festival courtesy of the Cultural Office of the City of Hannover and Friends Circle Malawi.

With support from Hivos Foundation through Cultural Funds for Malawi, BAF is back this year having not taken place last year due to financial challenges.

Having been on a break, the festival has to do more because people will be looking for nothing but the best.

“We are more than ready and we are not sleeping so as to make the festival better. We just want to thank the Germany Embassy for providing photographs for exhibition because this is a continuation of that government’s support to BAF since 2009,” Chibambo said.

He said this year the festival ,which is 100 percent local ,is running under the theme ‘Creative Expression’.

“We want the dominant presence of local acts and the headliner is local and everything is local,” he said.

The past years have seen the festival being headlined by international acts, among them, Mali’s Salif Keita, South Africa’s Rebecca Malope and Zimbabwe’s Oliver Mtukudzi.

Chibambo said the headliner for the festival to be opened by Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development, Cecilia Chazama, is the reggae group Black Missionaries.

He said the festival will, apart from musical performances and exhibitions, have various youth cultural activities as part of BAF’s outreach programmes.

Chibambo said the BAF outreach programmes have benefited a lot of youths and students from different schools in Blantyre.

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