70 artists register for Malawi’s Mwezi Wawala arts festival

A list of about 70 artists across the continent and abroad have registered their interest to participate in this year’s Mwezi Wawala International Arts and Theatre Festival to be hosted by Nanzikambe Arts.

The festival has also received boost of sponsorship from South African-based German organization Goethe Institut, which joined Aqua Pure Water and other local companies that have pledged support towards the festival.

Mwezi Wawala International Arts and Theatre Festival, in its second year running, is a wonderful, celebratory, ecstatic annual event bringing people across every divide together with this year’s event set for 30th August to 1st September.

In an interview with Nyasa Times, Vincent Maluwa, Mwezi Wawala International Arts and Theatre Festival Coordinator said artists from United States of America (USA), United Kingdom (UK), France, Germany, Spain, Pakistan, South Africa and Zimbabwe among others have, so far, confirmed of their participation.

Agoloso acoustic performance at the Mwezi Wawala festival last year
Agoloso acoustic performance at the Mwezi Wawala festival last year

Maluwa disclosed that they have partnered with Hivos, Bilimankhwe Arts and Complicite Theatre Company UK-based in order to make this year’s festival more splendid.

He said cited the incorporation of children’s sections as one way to ensure that the festival lives up to its ideology of becoming a family fun-fair.

“Last year, Mwezi Wawala received a record number of submissions and competition was especially tough. Currently, the selection process is done and notifications are sent out. This time around, it will be bigger and better, being second year running,” said Maluwa.

Maluwa said they have worked out all challenges the festival experienced when it was premièred last year whereby some countries pulled out without notifications, while others failed to turn up due to transportation hitches.

The Festival has an extraordinary line-up of marginalized art genres which are theatre, poetry/storytelling, traditional dances and acoustic music. It will be preceded by a three-day workshop focusing on equipping local artists with arts skills.

“We expect to hold theatre workshops with presenters from the United States of America, United Kingdom and Malawi. Being a Nanzikambe Arts’ resident festival, all the performances and the workshops will take place at the Nanzikambe Arts Café’ in Naperi, Blantyre.

“Artists speak for the society, reach into the souls of the people, express that for which ordinary people may not find words for, entertain, take people out of worries and make the society think about bigger pictures.

“It is for this reason that the festival provides a platform for artists to express themselves more especially those in minority-arts genres and of course the art lovers a treat”.

Mwezi Wawala is a Malawian phrase meaning ‘the moon is out and shining’. Traditionally in Malawi, it is under the moonlight where people sing, dance or sit around a fire to hear stories usually from the elders passing on tradition and culture through narratives, song and dance.

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