NEWS | ARTS | EVENTS
By Yona Gondwe
It has mesmerized fans. It has informed. It has entertained. Now, cometh the 4th to 6th October, 2019, Blantyre Arts Festival is set to officially clock ten years of nothing but a rich experience in the literary arena.
Since its inception ten years ago, BAF, has been one of the major front runners in dishing out creative programmes that have been promoting Art and culture in the country.
Now, as it is clocking ten years, Blantyre Arts Festival, is this year celebrating its anniversary under the banner, Fit for Life.”
From 4th to 6th October 2019, Blantyre Cultural Festival will, once again, experience the glorious journey of cultural artistic performances from some of the country’s veteran and up and coming artists alike brushing shoulders, doing what BAF has always been standing for.
According to the Public Relations Officer for BAF, Luckier Chikopa, also a renowned poet, the decade that BAF has been in existence has been nothing but full of mixed experiences.
“We’ve learnt a lot from the day BAF came into existence. It’s such an experience that’s kept us going strong,” she reveals.
“This year’s festival is a commemoration of BAF’s 10th universally under the theme “fit for life” and the Open Society Initiatives for Southern Africa (OSISA) are one of the main sponsors for this year’s festival. Said Chikopa who is also one of the few notable female poets in Malawi.
Why the theme, “fit for life”?
Luckier enlightens that “Fit for Life” perfectly fits this year’s theme as it (theme) reflects the journey BAF has travelled this far.
“We think we’re fit enough and we’ll keep on having festivals and we’re hoping to celebrate more years ahead of us. In short, we’re fitting in whatever we do.” Said Chikopa.
That aside, BAF is also running a program under a similar banner which, among others, is training youths into art entrepreneurship, and performing arts.
“BAF also does an exchange programs where international artists do come to Malawi to perform as well as conduct trainings and it also sends Malawi artists outside the country to perform in different festivals,” added she.
The beauty of this year’s gala
As BAF is celebrating its tenth anniversary, fans will be treated to a variety of local and international artistic performances including Germany Based Pachanya band, Poland-based Golden Moon Band, and other international performances UK, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Zambia.
Revered Soldier Lucius Banda, and Black Missionaries are the headliners for local performances.
Another scintillating dish that is going to be served on this day is that small-scale entrepreneurs will be given a podium to market their wares within the premises.
“We’ll also have market zone inside the festival where we invite the community to come and sell their products and so we are inviting the small scale business people as well as cooperates to come and sell their goods and services.” Said Chikopa.
Choice of performers
Chikopa said every year BAF calls for interested performers to express their interests.
“We don’t focus on how famous the artist is but based on the quality of their work.” Highlighted Chikopa.
On the challenges which Blantyre Arts Festival encounter, the PRO said inadequate funding is the main challenge they have been facing over the years.
“We’ve been having inadequate funds to come up with the festivals and also the training programs that we do prior to the festivals. This is why we’re extending our hands to whoever is concerned to be partnering us in raising the falg of Malawian arts higher,” she pleads.
On the other hand, regardless of the challenges BAF has been able to manage train the youths in the rural areas, coming up with international festivals where international artists have been taking part and managing to send artists to perform outside Malawi, just to mention, but a few.
Chikopa sees nothing but a blissful future for Blantyre Arts Festival, and arts and culture in general.
She says it is BAF’s dream to making the gala one of the most-sought-after international cultural events locally.