Minister of Tourism, arts and culture Michael Usi on Friday officially opened the Tumaini festival 2021.edition with a plea for the festival to happen twice or more times in at Dzaleka Refugee Camp.
Upon arrival, the minister was welcomed by Tumaini festival organizers and later inspected pavilions at the venue.
Two of the pavilions visited included Ubuntu Nation owned by Congolese and Dingilo arts and craft owned by Malawians.
Addressing the crowd at the festival, Usi urged both Malawians and the refugee community to be proud of their respective cultures.
He said, “We should be proud of our cultural dances. Some people feel ashamed or embarrassed to express themselves when they are educated. Being educated doesn’t mean we should forget our culture,” he said.
The Minister further took time to dance to some Rhumba sounds.”
He further encouraged the audience to embrace cultural values, saying, “Culture and dance are part of Tourism products. Don’t be ashamed to dance.”
Also present at the event was the UNHCR representative Henok Ochalla the senior protection officer of CRRF and Livelihoods who expressed optimism for the event.
“There are so many good stories despite the challenges. Every refugee camp faces so many challenges but we are proud to have Tumaini which is the first and only festival hosted at a refugee camp,” he admitted.
One of the pavilions that the minister inspected include Ubuntu Nation and Dingilo Arts and Craft.
Ubuntu Nation is an art and craft outfit consisting of players from Brazil, DRC, Mozambique, Madagascar and Malawi among others.
Paul Katambwa said it was a dream come true to showcase at such an event.
Dingilo arts and craft founder, Dingilo Daka also echoed the same sentiments, saying a multicultural event is a key approach to tourism”.
He said, “These are the only events that we get to exhibit our arts.”
Some of the artists that performed included Faith Mussa, Eli Njuchi, Shamma Vocals, Agorosso, Erik Paliani, RJ the DJ, DJ Reubie, Peoples MC and Rudo Mkukupa Chakwera among others.
Speaking after her performance, Rudo Mkukupa Chakwera hailed the organizers for bringing together people of different cultural backgrounds.
“I also brought the same message of hope, love and faith. I tried to perform in English and Swahili to communicate with the audience,” she said.
Commenting on her Tumaini stage experience, she said, “You can never get used to any stage. You simply need to have courage and adapt,” she reiterated.
Tumaini festival 2021 also attracted thousands of people from Malawi and beyond borders.
Area 18 resident Tadala Tembo said the festival was beyond her expectations.
“This is my first time being here and I must confess that Tumaini is awesome. I would encourage those that didn’t make it to come through next year,” she said.
Derived from a Swahili word, “Tumaini” means hope.
Tumaini is an annual music and cultural festival which was founded in 2014 by a Congolese refugee Tresor Mpauni.