Tumaini Festival: Cultural diversity, hope

Tumaini is a Swahili word meaning ‘Our hope’. And it is hope that the Tumaini Festival seeks to inspire when it is held annually at the Dzeleka Refugee Camp in Dowa.

This year, it takes place on November 4. The festival, founded some four years ago, presents a unique opportunity to support an innovative, cultural event developed and delivered by refugees and host community.

Jaco Jana (R) jamming with a member of the audience at the Tumaini Festival 2016 edition

It uses the entertainment and artistic expression to promote intercultural harmony, mutual understanding and peaceful co-existence for the benefit of both communities.

This year the festival’s main sponsor is United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

Tumaini Festival has united performers from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Burundi, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Belgium, United Kingdom (UK), Italy and South Korea. .

Ephrate Kamchocho, media manager for this year’s Tumaini Festival said they have more than fifty acts.

Some of the main acts during the festival include music performance, poetry, theatre, traditional dance and art exhibitions.

Kumchocho said the festival aims at bringing joy and hope to refugees, promoting the talents of refugees and promoting the camp itself as a place of unity, peace, coexistence and harmony.

Entrance to the festival is free, encouraging people from around Malawi to come and develop their understanding of life in the camp. Each year the festival is funded by a combination of sponsorship and crowd funding.

The inaugural Tumaini Festival took place in 2014 from 17 to 22 November at Dzaleka Refugee Camp. It featured community workshops throughout the week.

During the three previous editions over 14 000 people attended it and 86 acts from across Malawi, Africa and the world shared the same stages with performers from Dzaleka. n

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