There are some events that during the normal course of your life, you never think you will attend. Some of these events you do not even come across their names at all. Joining MAPP Africa exposed me to events I never knew before, let alone thought I would ever attend. One of these events is the Lake of Stars Festival held in Malawi. LOS 2016 was my first time ever going to such an event, as well as visiting the country.
Our journey to Chintheche, Malawi from Harare, Zimbabwe was quite long and tiresome as we travelled by bus for over 18 hours. Like any other long journey, it left us tired, worn out and wishing we hadn’t travelled all the way. However, those feelings quickly changed when we saw the beautiful Lake Malawi. It is so big that one could easily mistake it for an ocean. The water is blue and clean and the sand by the beach is so white and fine. I fell in love instantly.
The location was stunning and until the day I left, I still could not get over it. There were two beautifully set up stages, well arranged food courts and strategically set up vending areas. I also loved the theme that was used to set up the premises. Thatching grass was used to wall almost all the structures, giving everything a true African look.
Though I didn’t know most of the artists that performed, I found the performances to be amazing. My personal favourite was Theo Thomson and Freshlyground. I would have loved to see Robert’s performance as well because he’s one of my favourite African artists, but unfortunately when we arrived at the Inn he’d already played. I also liked the performance by Moto Buu because they satisfied my new found love for rock music. The program was diverse, with room for all kinds of artists from musicians of all kinds of genres to poets, drama, dance and design.
Designers had nicely set up booths where they showcased and sold their work. The items were well crafted and this made me appreciate the amount of talent we have on this continent. These items included handmade jewellery, shoes, clothes made from African printed material, bags, toys, sculptures and portraits. The designers took so much pride in their work and they had so much enthusiasm. I had such a wide selection to choose from that for a moment I got overwhelmed. I eventually got myself a pair of beaded slopes.
As members of Mapp Africa, we were well taken care of. We were given good accommodation, free coupons for lunch and supper, access to artists and free Wi-Fi. Our team had the opportunity to interview Roberto and it was an amazing experience.
My whole LOS experience was just amazing and it came with a lot of first times. It was my first time sleeping in a tent and to be honest I was skeptical about it. I had so many worries going through my head, like was I going to be comfortable, was I going to sleep well, weren’t tents too hot, was I going to enjoy this experience...etc. However, I’m glad to say I slept like a baby, I was comfortable and I didn’t have any problems.
I made new friends from both my country and from other countries. An experience like this makes one break out of their little shell to a new world with new people and just appreciate their cultures and experiences. We met a group of guys that followed festivals all across Africa. We also went swimming in the lake and at times we would randomly play ball games in the lake with a bunch of people, just having fun and not caring who the next person was or where they were from, what race they were or what their religion was, we were just one people.
In conclusion, I would say that my LOS experience was amazing and I felt honoured to be part of such an exceptional event, hosted at one of the biggest lakes in the world and in the presences of such great people. I swam in the lake, I danced, I ate, I socialised and, ultimately, I represented MAPP Africa. It was truly an experience to remember.
Written by Christine Rutendo Rashama (Zimbabwe)
This year, #LOS2016 marked it's thirteenth year of the sensational entertaining music and arts festival.