Today and tomorrow, most roads will lead to Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa where the sixth edition of Tumaini Arts Festival takes place. The two-day event is a symbol of hope and love among people from diverse backgrounds.
However, one unique feature, for this year’s edition is the promotion of the female voice. From poets to actors and musicians, the event has ensured it amplifies the voice of the fairer sex.
From an all-girls band Krazy Colours, Afro jazz artist Keturah, Lady Pace, Trizah Titus, RJ The DJ, Princess Chitsulo, Rudo Chakwera, Poet Phindu Banda to Tiya Joan, the line-up of female acts is rich to the core.
In an interview with Chill, Krazy Colours leader Cynthia Britt Phiri said they are ready to show the world how talented they are.
“Our fans should expect the best from us. We are prepared to give nothing but the best,” she said.
Phiri said the group will be performing at the festival for the third time.
“Tumaini Festival was the first major festival to recognise our talent as a group and this encouraged us. Actually, our first time to perform as a group was at this meaningful festival three months after our establishment,” she said.
Phiri described the event as important as it uses art to preach unity among people of different nationalities.
In a separate interview, poet Phindu Zaie Banda said she believes that in all its forms has the power to transform lives and unite people from different backgrounds.
She said: “Tumaini Festival provides an opportunity for different artists to come together at Dzaleka Refugee Camp and reminds us that though our stories and experiences are different, we’re all just humans trying to get the best out of life. I always want to add my voice to the powerful experience that Tumaini Festival creates.”
Another female artist, Trizah Titus, told Chill that she is thrilled with the high numbers of female performers at this year’s Tumaini Festival.
“I want women to look at me and say if she can do it, we can do it too,” she said.
Titus said the festival holds a special place in her heart because she has a deep connection with refugees.
“I have been in their shoes so I am excited to connect with my fans spiritually through my music,” she said.
Titus will be making her debut at Tumaini Festival after her appearance at Lake of Stars last year.
“My performance has grown stronger and I have confidence because I have learnt a lot from my past performances though I am still learning,” she said.
Festival founder Menes Le Plume said they have made this year’s event run over two days to accommodate the increased number of artists.
“We are aimed at impacting lives of people at the camp and beyond. Tumaini also benefits refugees through the exposure and connections it brings to Dzaleka, allowing refugees to seek further opportunities to share their work outside Dzaleka,” he said.
Le Plume, therefore, said this year’s festival has deliberately chosen a more amplified voice of women to make it more vibrant.
He said: “As a festival of hope, we wanted a show that emphasises on the fact that women are the carrier of the torch of hope in families and in nations. That’s why we worked to make sure that women are represented on each of our stages at the festival. They will shine their light and bring hope and enjoy with the refugees and the many people coming from every corner of Malawi and around the world thorugh music and culture.”
The festival will this year have both local and foreign artists in poetry, music, drama, acrobatics, dance and traditional dance as well as fashion show.
Other artists set to star include Danny Kalima, Zebra Band, Patience Namadingo, Suffix and Soul Raiders.