The Feminart Arts and Book Festival 2019 officially kicked off at the Crossroads Hotel, Lilongwe, Malawi on November 23, 2019. The festival theme is “The Pursuit of Happiness.”
The Feminart Arts and Book Festival is the first major literary festival to happen in the Southern African country of Malawi. It is a unique festival, not just as the first in Malawi, but as the first we have seen on the continent that has feminism, gender equality, and femininity as core to its mission.
The events at the Crossroads Hotel, conducted superbly by Tendai, kicked off with an address by festival director Shadreck Chikoti. Chikoti is known in literary circles for his novel Azotus The Kingdom as well as being the publisher of Imagine Africa 500. He was also one of the writers considered likely to influence African letters in the future in the Africa39 project in 2013.
His welcome address included thank yous to those who had ensured that the festival had seen the light of day starting with its principal sponsor Yamikani Chikoti. We thank you as well Yamikani. Also appreciated were others who had made it including staff and a big thank you to those who had come from around Malawi and beyond the borders. You can see part of his speech below.
That speech was followed by an electrifying performance by Music Crossroads Malawi which dazzled the full house at that auditorium.
The keynote for the opening ceremony was given by Malawian award-winning actress, theatre director and film director Joyce Chavula who welcomed those who attended to the city of Lilongwe. She was very complimentary to the Feminarts Team who, in spite of lack of support from corporations and civil society, decided to go ahead with the festival anyway. She then declared that the Feminarts Book and Arts Festival was officially open. You can watch part of her remarks below.
There was a book chat between novelist Zukiswa Wanner and writer and academic Elizabeth that gave way to performances by kids of poetry, song, and dance that was well received by the audience.