Malawian arts associations set up annual festival

As one way of firming up the creative industry, nine Malawian rights holder associations have teamed up to create an annual festival with the inaugural event taking place in Lilongwe next month.

Dubbed Bwalo la Aluso Arts and Cultural Festival, the show joins several other arts and cultural festivals, primarily organised by individual groups.

The participating rights holder associations include the Photographers Association of Malawi (PHOTAMA), National Theatre Association of Malawi (NTAM), Journalists Union of Malawi (JUMA), Musicians Association of Malawi (MAM), Book Publishers Association of Malawi (BPAM), Malawi Writers Union (MAWU), Malawi Folkdance, Music and Song Society (MFODMAS), Film Association of Malawi (FAMA) and Poetry Association of Malawi (PAM).

Tayanja Phiri: Bwalo la Aluso Arts and Cultural Festival

Spokesperson of the main organising committee of the inaugural event, Francis Tayanjah Phiri said the event is slated for Cresta Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe from 26th November to 1st December this year.

“The associations have set aside the whole of that week to celebrate arts and culture. However, the actual performances will begin on Wednesday, 28th November, with the climax being on 1stDecember. The first days of the week have been set aside for other activities like workshops,” he said.

The festival, to be celebrated under the theme Consolidating Artistic Diversity, is supported by the Royal Norwegian Government through the Cultural Support Scheme (CSS) which is coordinated by the Copyright Society of Malawi (COSOMA).

“This arts and culture festival will be celebrated every year and will bring together artists from a variety sectors such as theatre, music, film, photography, visual arts, writers/poets, journalism and publishing,” said Tayanjah-Phiri.

This is the inaugural event. During the event, the artists will also commemorate the 20th Anniversary of COSOMA.

During the festival, patrons will sample assorted traditional dances such as Gulewamkulu, Ingoma/Ngoma and Vimbuza.

There will also be arts exhibitions, music (both gospel and secular), poetry, drama, sensitization march and various workshops arts and culture.

“In addition, the associations want to recognize local artists [by giving them awards] who have greatly contributed to the development of arts in the country,” he added.

He said the associations are also expecting two most popular Nigerian actors to headline the event but the particulars are yet to be made public.

“We believe Malawians will take this opportunity to appreciate the local talents we have and that government will also use the local art in promoting arts and culture thereby generating the needed income for the country,” he concluded.

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