By Sam Banda Jnr:
Blantyre Arts Festival (Baf) will this weekend come to life as it brings its 2018 package.
The festival comes to the stage barely a week after people experienced the 2018 Lake of Stars Festival held at Kabumba Hotel in Salima.
This year, Baf, which has come a long way— having opened its account in 2009— takes place at one venue – Blantyre Cultural Centre (BCC).
Baf Executive Director, Thom Chibambo, said Thursday everything is in order ahead of the three-day festival which starts today and ends on Sunday.
“There is nothing to worry about, we are ready and we are just waiting for the day. All the artists are ready. We just want to call upon people to come in large numbers because we have so much to give them, in terms of entertainment,” Chibambo said.
He called on the community to be part and parcel of the festival, saying they have created a market zone where different items will be sold.
“We invite the corporate world to come and sell their products. We also invite the community to come and sell different items,” Chibambo said.
He said, unlike in the past when the festival used to open with a carnival, there is no carnival this year and that the official opening will not be in the afternoon but tonight.
And ahead of the official opening, there will be school activities starting this morning through to the afternoon.
There will also be performances from Aware and Fair Theatre and Kasama Arts of Zambia.
Chibambo said the festival will officially be opened by Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development Grace Chiumia.
Some of the officials set to grace the official opening are the Norwegian Ambassador to Malawi, Blantyre City Mayor and Hannover Mayor.
The lineup of tonight’s performers includes Chichiri Prison Cultural Troupe, poetry, Kasama Arts from Zambia, Waliko Makhala, Agorosso and Makatumbe from Germany.
Some of the artists set to perform tomorrow are Yoneco Cultural Troupe, Young Travellers Theatre, Kasama Cultural Troupe from Zambia, Nkhokwe Arts, Snowden Ibbu, YDC Collaboration Theatre, Klecks Theatre from Germany, Annemarie Quinn, who is from United Kingdom but based in Malawi, and Golden Moon Band from Poland.
Poets will also be on show.
Reggae group Black Missionaries, alongside Anthony Makondetsa, will close the festival on Sunday.
The other performances on Sunday will come from Fungai, Ethel Kamwendo-Banda and Makatumbe.
There will also be an exhibition during the festival spearheaded by visual artist Ellis Singano.
The early years of the festival still stand out as there was a moneyed menu that included Poetry Africa.
But all that is history; there is no Poetry Africa.
Despite this, the festival is still on the race until today.