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Pakhonde Ethno Music Festival reaches out to traditional leaders

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Ben Mankhamba

Organisers of the annual Pakhonde Ethno Music Festival, which will take place at Chingalire Cultural Centre in Lilongwe in May, have intensified their preparations by engaging traditional leaders.

The three-day festival, to run from May 27-29, was unveiled last year.

The festival is being spearheaded by Music Crossroads Malawi in partnership with other players and is aimed at promoting and preserving culture.

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Music Crossroads Malawi Director Mathews Mfune said they are serious with their preparations to give out the finest during the festival in May.

“So, on the eve of 2022, me and the team of the Pakhonde Ethno Music Festival decided to go out and meet traditional leaders around Chingalire Village to brief them about the festival coming to their community,” Mfune said.

He said the team was greatly overjoyed with the warm welcome and enthusiasm the whole community has for the festival.

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“We look forward to a successful festival. This festival is taking place right in the village and, so, we need to take all the opinion leaders on board to own the festival. We briefed them on a number of things including the theme, which is ‘Environmental Sustainability And Preservation of Our Culture’,” Mfune said.

He further said they would want the community to get involved.

“ We shared with them that the festival may have negative impact on environment, the benefits of the festival to the community and how they could economically benefit and participate, potential disadvantages so as to come up with measures,” he said.

Mfune described Pakhonde Ethno Music Festival as a festival of the people, for the people and by the people.

“The festival is different from the Ethno Malawi Music Camp, which involves training and focuses on traditional instruments, and this will run as normal and feed into the festival,” he said.

Mfune said they have engaged an extra gear and that they were now looking for partners and sponsors.

“Partners or sponsors can identify an area for support. We also encourage musicians to inform us on some of the best local acts that people don’t know about. This is also a chance for tour operators to be involved because it is all about promoting cultural tourism,” Mfune said.

Veteran musician Ben Mankhamba, who is also Village Head Chingalire, said the festival is for the community, hence meeting traditional leaders.

“This festival will bring positives and negatives and so traditional leaders need to know. They were happy that they have been engaged right from the beginning and next we are also looking at reaching out to traditional authorities Kalolo and Kabudula. These meetings will go on,” Mankhamba said.

Mankhamba, who is also part of the organising team for the festival, described Pakhonde as a unique festival happening in the community.

“In fact, traditional leaders have been asked to mobilise people in their communities to prepare traditional dances. Auditions will be there to choose the best and the groups will be given prime time at the festival,” he said.

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