Hivos Southern Africa through its Malawi country office supported the fifteenth edition of the Lake of Stars Arts Festival held from 28 to 30 September 2018 in Salima, Malawi. The festival attracted more than 5,000 people including tourists from around the globe. Hivos in partnership with Lake of Stars supported the event through the Culture Fund of Malawi (CFM) program which is funded by the Norwegian Embassy. Lake of Stars is Malawi’s most established arts festival with a mission to promote the country’s travel and creative industries through innovative, high-profile events.
In June 2016, Hivos Southern Africa in partnership with the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Malawi launched the CFM aimed at contributing to a dynamic, free and diverse cultural sector for improved living standards, economic growth and poverty reduction in Malawi. Hivos embraced the innovation by Lake of Stars to use the festival as an international platform essential to increase people’s access and exposure to their full cultural rights and to give Malawian artists the chance to exercise free expression, reach a global audience and progress their careers.
“This is our fifteenth year and it is set to be our biggest one yet. A stage filled with great Malawian and international acts and this was all made possible by our partners like the Malawi Government and our sponsors. This is our biggest venue and it is a Malawian owned hotel. We are looking forward to fifteen more years. Thank you all for coming and enjoy the show” said William Jameson, Founder of Lake of Stars.
On Saturday 29 September the festival was officially opened at the Hivos Main stage by Henry Mussa. M.P., Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Honourable.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, let me also commend Mr Will Jameson and his team for their perseverance which has helped to entrench the culture of arts and music festivals in the country. It is pleasing to note that since the inception of Lake of Stars fifteen years ago, Malawi now has a number of reputable annual festivals which have enriched our Tourism Calendar.” The Minister said. “Your efforts to build capacity on events management at local level through the various workshops that you have conducted over the years are now bearing fruits as evidenced by the participation of some of your members at Bushfire Festival and HIFA in Swaziland and Zimbabwe, respectively. These regional partnerships are in line with Government’s policy of regional integration and need to be commended” he added.
A performance by renowned Kenyan Afro-soul jazz group, Sauti Sol, which attracted more than 3,000 revellers at the festival preceded the official opening. There were three stages at the event, the TNM Beach stage, the Deep End and the Main Stage which was branded as the Hivos stage. An estimated 5,000 revellers visited the stage throughout the different performances.
The key tenet of the festival’s approach in 2018, was that over the 15 years of the Lake of Stars festival in Malawi, there have been substantial developments in the country’s creative sector, and the exercising of cultural rights and freedom of expression through the arts. The festival has played a substantial role in promoting creative expression in Malawi.
“We would like to thank Hivos for the tremendous support it has given us throughout this year. The success of the project throughout the years has been made possible through the support of our partners and funders such as Hivos,” said Yolanda Ng’oma, the Lake of Stars Festival Country Coordinator for Malawi.
In January, Lake of Stars partnered with Hivos to produce a one-off event promoting the role of women in the arts in Malawi, and creating spaces for more women to follow in the footsteps of successful female arts practitioners, while simultaneously promoting gender-focused campaigns and initiatives. Hivos through the support of the Norwegian Government will continue to embrace culture through such events as this is our niche to innovate for social change.