Promoting unity through art

The Tumaini Arts festival is one of the major festivals in the arts industry in Malawi. It celebrates arts, culture and music from different artists at the refugee camp of Dzaleka. Its main aim os to softer hope and unity amon refugees and locals and also promoting arts. This year the festival is back and it takes place over the weekend at Dzaleka Camp in Dowa. Tumaini is a Swahili word meaning ‘hope’. Our reporter Singayazi Kaminjolo engaged the founder and director of Tumaini festival Menes la Plume for details on the festival.

Plume: The festival is achieving its goals

Q

: Tumaini festival has been here for about four years. Tell us about the journey that you have travelled so far?

A

: I can talk about four years of passion and perseverance. The three first people I spoke to about creating an international music and arts festival at Dzaleka Refugee Camp were very shocked and thought that I was becoming crazy, because there were no resources available for refugees to create such a project. I had zero money; the only thing I had was a big dream and a strong passion, that’s what created Tumaini Festival. For the first three years we did not have any funding, but we always found ways to make it happen. And this year, which is our fourth, we have finally seen different organisations trusting and partnering with us.

 

Q

: Is the festival achieving its goal of bringing unity, hope and promoting talent among refugees and people from surrounding areas?

A

: I am very confident to say that the festival is achieving its goals. You can see how many Malawians are travelling from different cities to visit Dzaleka during the festival. Many Malawian artists are donating their talents, time and energy by performing for free at the event. And also many Malawians are involved in the team that makes Tumaini Festival a possibility. This just shows the peaceful coexistence and intercultural harmony we always talk about. Four years ago, no one was talking about Dzaleka, no one knew about it and there was no reason to go there. With Tumaini Festival we managed to make Dzaleka an attractive destination and foster pride for people living there.

 

Q

: Organising such an event needs time and resources…tell us about that aspect of the event?

A

: We spend one year to work on Tumaini Festival and we use our personal money for the running costs as we are still not having funding for that. To make a festival successful requires a lot of time, a lot of money and a lot of people.

 

Q

: Tell us about this year’s event. What should people expect?

A

: For this year’s festival, people should expect the highest quality event we have ever produced. Sixty-seven artists from eleven nationalities performing on five different stages and a lot of fun.

 

Q

: Any last words?

A

: My last words would be to say a big thank you to everyone who has been believing in this dream, they are the fuel pushing us forward.n

 

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