Blantyre Arts Festival has officially started on Friday with a carnival through the streets of Malawi's commercial city off Blantyre, showing off a number of activities which the patrons should expect to see over the course of the three days.
Starting off from the old boma via Mount Soche the procession made their way to Clock-tower before embarking on Masauko Chipembere Highway closing off one lane and attracting admirers on their way to the venue for the festival, the Blantyre Cultural Centre.
Some of the people along the road were not aware the festival is taking place; they left their offices and business premises out of curiosity suspecting its the 'demos' just to see what the hullabaloo was all about.
Founder and Executive Director of BAF Thom Chibambo speaking to journalist during the carnival said they want to uplift culture and show the world Malawi has more to offer.
He said the engagement of the youth in their large numbers has also shown that the festival’s aim of promoting culture is trickling down to future generations.
He subtly hit on the political situation in the country saying people need to leave everything aside and focus on development and that BAF is bringing people together regardless of their affiliations.
Chirambo said: “This is Malawi. We want to celebrate our culture. People are known everywhere across the globe because of their culture and BAF is making sure that our culture is contributing to the development of the country.
“We want to make sure that our culture is a tool for development, but also that we celebrate as Malawian. We want everyone everywhere to see what we are doing. We have to leave everything else aside and make sure that our youth and the women are embedded in who we are as Malawians,” he explained.
Over the weekend patrons will be treated to poetry, traditional dances and music from the likes of Lucius Banda, Black Missionaries and others from Zambia and Germany.
There will also be workshops, drama and display of various cultural items.