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Tumaini Festival returns for seventh edition

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Tumaini Festival – the only free annual festival in the country that takes place at Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa District returns for its seventh edition in November.

The festival, that attracts massive gatherings, failed to take place last year due to Covid but organisers have confirmed that this year the festival is on.

A press statement from organisers led by founder Menes la Plume real name Tresor Mpauni says the festival runs from November 4-7.

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Having started as a day festival, Tumaini has won the hearts of many people with its activities and this has led to its growth to a three-day festival.

“We are thankful to people for their support since we started the festival.

“This is an ecstatic three-day gathering of arts and culture and draws together people across every divide to enjoy live performances by artists from the camp sharing the stage with both local and international artists,” Menes, who is a renowned poet and musician, said.

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Menes said, by popular demand, the 2021 edition will run for four days from the usual three days.

“This is all because of requests from people and, again, this is also to give a chance to various art forms to feature. We have increased the number of stages to six. We will have the main stage, youth stage, theatre corner, poetry corner, art exhibition space and cultural ground,” he said.

Menes said Tumaini, which means hope, remains a free-of-charge event to break the social and economic restrictions that prohibit average patrons from different cultures attending the festivities and celebrate together in peace and harmony at Dzaleka Refugee Camping.

“This is a family event with child friendly performances which makes the festival a great opportunity for families to have good outdoor fun,” he said.

Menes said that the festival also continues to empower and support refugee-owned small businesses by providing a market space to sell their merchandise and also offering an opportunity to patrons to purchase arts and crafts and other artisanal goods from refugees.

He said, despite cancelling the festival last year due to Covid, Tumaini engaged in supporting the population at Dzaleka in projects such as sensitising refugees in the camp to Covid preventive measures through music projects that involved artists from the camp.

“Tumaini also supported the community by developing radio programmes to educate children on intangible cultural heritage through folktales and also we supported positive well-being among adults,” Menes said.

He said that, this year, the festival will also celebrate creative ways in which artists and the community at Dzaleka have shown resilience within the challenging context of Covid.

“We are mindful of the fact that Covid is still here although the cases have gone down and, so, we will make sure that all Covid measures are strictly adhered to during the festival,” Menes said.

Menes said they will announce the artists set to perform at this year’s fiesta in due course.

Tumaini was established in 2014. The large-scale cultural event, created and run by refugees in collaboration with host community, has attracted over 99,000 people over the previous editions and over 300 acts from Malawi and other countries.

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