By Sam Banda Jnr:
Tumaini Festival has released the 2018 line-up.
The free annual festival will this year be held for two days at Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa District from November 2 to 3.
The past years have seen the festival only taking place for a day but, due to overwhelming response, the organisers, led by founder Menes la Plume, decided to expand it to two days.
The line-up for this year includes Patience Namadingo, Erik Paliani, Nepman, Great Angels Choir, Theo Thomson, Wailing Brothers, Amahoro Drummers, Code Sangala better known as C.O, Salama Africa, Agorosso, George Kalukusha and Madalitso Band.
The others are Vilipanganga Poetry Movement, Phindu Banda, Forus Crew, Sangwani Munthali, Annemarie Quinn, Julius Jules Banda and Muhanya.
The announcement of the line-up comes barely two days after organisers closed the crowdfunding strategy which run for three weeks.
The festival has used the crowdfunding campaign to raise funds. They raised 15,000 euros.
Tumaini is a Swahili word which means hope and aims at bringing joy and hope to refugees and promote Dzaleka Refugee Camp as a place of unity, peace, co-existence and harmony.
“Tumaini Festival has represented a unique opportunity for refugees to share aspects of their lives with interested visitors, to exhibit and sell their crafts and to feel the hope of connecting to a wider community,” Menes said.
He said Tumaini Festival has become a community celebration that residents of Dzaleka appreciate as an event, they look forward to and want to see happen regularly.
Dzaleka is the only permanent refugee camp in the country and is in Dowa District, 45 kilometres from Lilongwe.
According to Menes, Dzaleka has a population of approximately 28,000 refugees and asylum seekers from mainly the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Burundi with smaller numbers of people from Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan and other countries.
Menes said since Dzaleka was established as a refugee camp in 1994, there had never been a large event organised which centred on the needs of refugees as human, social, and expressive beings.
He said while events have existed for World Refugee Day and International Women’s Day, they have invariably centred on official speeches, backed with just a few performances.
Menes, who is a poet and musician, said, while Malawi has ratified the 1951 UN Convention relating to the status of refugees, it holds nine reservations to this convention.
“Specifically, this means, among other things, refugees do not have the right to employment, the right to property, or the freedom of movement. This greatly isolates refugees, limits their financial capacity and restricts their ability to access cultural events available to Malawians and expatriates,” he said.
Menes said Tumaini Festival meets all these needs.
Meanwhile, the fifth edition of the festival will be launched on Saturday with a big party at Everest Restaurant in Lilongwe.
“For your entertainment, we are bringing the seducing Jazz guitar sound by Erik Paliani and Congolese energetic dancing music by Etoile de la Paix as well as DJ sets by DJs Skyflexx and DJ Love,” Menes said.
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