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Blantyre Arts Fest on

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Organisers of Blantyre Arts Festival (BAF) said on Friday that the festival will be on this year and that it will be held at Blantyre Cultural Centre from October 6 to 8.

The festival returns to the stage having failed last year due to funding.

But BAF Executive Director Thom Chibambo said they were working hard to put up a better festival that will give people the much-needed entertainment.

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“We are trying as much as possible to come up with various drives to have funds available so that the festival runs every year. It’s not easy but we are engaging the corporate,” he said.

The festival has received funding from Hivos through the Cultural Fund Malawi.

Project Manager – Open Society Malawi (Transparency, Accountability and Freedom of Expression), Baldwin Chiyamwaka said recently that the Cultural Fund Malawi was making headway and that since they started in 2016, they have given out grants to 12 organisations including BAF.

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With the one-year hiatus, the festival, however, has a lot to do.

BAF on Friday held a press briefing where it interacted with the media to solicit views on how they can improve the festival.

Having brought into the country several well-known international acts such as Mali’s Salif Keita, Zimbabwe’s Oliver Mtukudzi and South Africa’s Rebecca Malope, Chibambo said this year they will have a 100 percent local presentation.

“We know people always look forward to international headliners but this year we are having a 100 percent local representation. We might have international acts which will be a surprise but would want more local representation,” he said.

The festival, which started in 2009, has been on the up, especially when it had the Poetry Africa which among others brought in Jamaican artist Mutabaruka.

Chibambo said all was good and that people will see a lot this year.

“We are happy with the response from the corporate world compared to the past years. Our aim is to uplift arts in the country and we are happy with the contribution we have made since we started,” he said.

On the venue Blantyre Cultural Centre which is not in good shape at the moment, Chibambo said there was an improvement as it is being refurbished now.

“The Blantyre Cultural Centre has been our hub as a festival because it caters for all the arts fields. We know it’s not 100 percent fit but things have improved compared to the past years. The government is renovating the place and come October, there will be a difference,” Chibambo said.

Chibambo has since said that artists should be on the lookout as they will make a callup very soon since they were running out of time.

He said the festival will this year have all the artistic fields such as music, poetry and visual arts among others.

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