By Sam Banda Jnr:
After Lake of Stars Festival (LoS) which offered a three-day package of music, fashion and theatre among others, at Kabumba Hotel in Salima last weekend, the fun now moves to Blantyre this weekend which hosts Blantyre Arts Festival (BAF).
BAF which started in 2009 and has hosted renowned artists such as Zimbabwe’s Oliver Mtukudzi, Mali’s Salif Keita and Jamaica’s Mutabaruka will be held at Blantyre Cultural Centre (BCC) starting on Friday to Sunday.
BAF Executive Director, Thom Chibambo, said Tuesday everything is in place and that they are ready to host another festival.
“We are ready, we are making final touches but everything is almost done,” Chibambo said.
He said the festival will be opened by culture minister Grace Chiumia on Friday night.
“We are doing it differently this year, we will have the official opening in the evening and not afternoon as has been the case. Again, we are not having a carnival,” Chibambo said.
He also said this year they want the community to be fully involved and be part of the festival hence creating the market zone.
“We have created the market zone because we want people to participate by bringing different items and sale. We also invite the corporate world to be part of the festival. It will be a big market zone,” Chibambo.
He also said this year they will have workshops which are part of sharing ideas and that this involves different artistic fields.
“Apart from that we will also have an art exhibition spearheaded by Ellis Singano. There is just so much this year and so we invite them to come and experience the 2018 BAF. We just want to thank different partners for the support,” he said.
A visit to BCC Tuesday, we found some groups doing rehearsals ahead of the festival with other personnel sweeping the surroundings.
Meanwhile one of the groups set to perform at the festival Germany’s Makatumbe has said they are looking forward to giving out the best.
The group from Hannover which in June collaborated with Patience Namadingo and Princess Chitsulo in Germany will be performing at BAF for the first time.
Makatumbe will also be performing at BAF barely a week after starring at LoS.
“We had so much fun at Lake of Stars. A very good experience and we managed to network with several other artists. We are looking forward to giving out the best at Blantyre Arts Festival,” one of the members said.
Makatumbe is also expected to perform at Chingalire Rural Growth Centre which is driven by musician Ben Mankhamba, who is Village headman Chingalire today.