Mussa leaves a mark at Tumaini Festival
Fresh from his USA tour with fellow musician Peter Mawanga and the Amaravi Movement recently, singer and guitarist Faith Mussa set Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa on fire with his performance during the second Tumaini Festival.
The free festival brought people from all walks of life with the refugees from among others Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi and Somalia dominating.
As the last act on the day, Faith Mussa famed for the hit ‘Desperate,’ was the toast of the moment as he lifted the huge audience that patronised the festival with his music vibes from the start to finish.
It was a two-man act featuring himself as the lead vocalist and guitarist and Omex Chimpeni on drums and percussions, but the sound came out perfectly as if it was a full band with several members.
The moment of it all was when Faith Mussa performed the song ‘Desperate,’ which had almost everyone singing along while others chanted Mussa! Mussa!
It was getting dark and the singer and guitarist was running short of time but the audience did not buy his farewell words as they shouted one more! One more!
He obliged and went on to offer two more songs including ‘Pamudzi,’ Pano.
“I am so grateful for the support given by the people of Dzaleka and the way they were singing along to all my songs, I am impressed,” said Mussa.
Mussa jumped on stage after the performance of artist Menes la Plume real name Tresor Mpauni, who is a refugee from Democratic Republic of Congo and has stayed at Dzaleka for close to seven years.
Menes who is the creator of the Tumaini Festival used the platform to unveil his debut album titled Far From Home.
The musician, poet and activist first launched the album in Mzuzu then Lilongwe and Blantyre before bringing it home to Dzaleka on Saturday.
He named the festival Tumaini from the Swahili word meaning hope and during his performance, he took time out to dish out a poem titled ‘Imagine,’ which among others speaks of the conflicts in many African countries which have left people stranded.
Menes hailed various sponsors including Lake of Stars for being there to propel Tumaini Festival.
“This is the second year and the festival is growing. This year we have five performing spaces which included a youth space and films and theatre space,” he said.
Menes said Tumaini Festival was created to promote unity and co-existence between Malawi and refugees.
“On stage which had artists from different countries which included Malawi, Mozambique, DRC and Burundi and this showed unity,” he said.
He said he has seen a lot over the seven years he has stayed at Dzaleka Refugee Camp which has 19,000 refugees and asylum seekers.
“We don’t have freedom, we are not allowed to work, there is no free movement and we can’t go to Malawian universities,” said the artist.
Despite these challenges, Menes said through art, he has managed to create his own opportunity and urged fellow refugees not to wait for other people but to create their own opportunities.
“We can do it for ourselves, we have the resources and as for Malawians, I say let’s not discriminate as we are all one,” he said.
With Dzaleka Refugee Camp without electricity for close to two months now due to a faulty transformer, the organisers used generators which at times could not supply enough power.
Some performances were interrupted now and then due to power cuts.
Apart from performances, there were also people selling different artworks.
Random interviews with some of the refugees indicated that they were satisfied with the festival.
“I am happy because I was able to see some artists such as Lawi and Faith Mussa live but it’s also a platform which brought us together to enjoy different acts,” said Gilbert Bashir.
Apart from Lawi and Mussa, the other artists who performed on the day included Amahoro Dancers from Burundi, George Kalulukusha and Young Chilaga.
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