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Exit Lake of Stars Festival enter BAF

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Last weekend the country experienced the Lake of Stars Arts Festival held at Sunbird Nkopola in Mangochi but now the focus shifts to another festival – Blantyre Arts Festival(BAF) starting Friday through to Sunday at Blantyre Cultural Centre.

This is another festival which has shown potential having started in 2009 and for those who missed the Lake of Stars festival, then they better not miss BAF according to its executive director Thom Chibambo.

BAF will be spreading its wings with different activities having been oiled by FMB Bank recently. The bank donated K2.4 million.

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The festival will see several artists performing including South Africa’s legendary gospel singer Rebecca Malope, who jets into the country today.

The organisers have put together different stages for performances which include the main stage, amphitheatre and the open stage.

Malope will perform on the main stage tomorrow night sharing the stage with fellow South African artist Nonkhululeko Khumalo and local gospel artists Thocco Katimba, Ethel Kamwendo Banda and Patience Namadingo.

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The activities tomorrow according to a programme released by the organisers will start with workshops in the morning before performances which include Amitofo Acrobatics, Dalma Theatre, Baba Watoto Acrobatics from Tanzania, film screening, DJs bFAKE and Fosta from South Africa and local artist Khuza Lampi.

Chibambo said they are ready for the showdown and that everything is in place for the festival which starts with a carnival this morning at Blantyre Old Town through to Civic Centre.

“We always bring different things every year so this year’s festival is unique. This year as we said we also have a fashion show, we have workshops aimed at offering skills to the artists and we also have film screenings,” he said.

The programme indicates that after the carnival today, there will be other activities in the afternoon including performances by students, Baba Watoto Acrobatics, Indian dances and veteran Giddes Chalamanda.

Chileka-based reggae group Black Missionaries straight from their South Africa performances last weekend, will be the last to perform tonight on the main stage.

The other artists performing tonight include Khalidwe Band, Home Grown African, Black Syndicate and The Great Grandpot from Germany.

On Sunday which is the last day, there will be workshops in the morning followed by performances from among others Baba Watoto Acrobatics, University of Zimbabwe, Solomonic Peacocks, Kwathu Drama Group, The Great Grandpot, Chanco Travelling Theatre, Agorosso, Waliko Makhala, Muhanya and Zimbabwe’s Munya, who also performed at the festival last year.

The festival has in the past years been boosted by the presence of Poetry Africa which has seen several renowned artists gracing its platform among them Jamaica’s Mutabaruka but that is not the case this time around. This time around there is no Poetry Africa.

The festival will see people paying K3,000 each today and Sunday with Malope’s performance fee K5,000 on entry.

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