Rhythm and Views!

Written By: The Lowdown - Jun• 29•13

Dance, music, arts and drums are coming to Livingstone to mark the Bicentenary of the birth of Dr David Livingstone, born 200 years ago.  Throughout this year Livingstone is celebrating Dr David Livingstone’s commitment to exploration, medicine, education and the eradication of slavery, still an active campaign 200 years later.


As part of these celebrations, The David Livingstone Bicentenary and Livingstone 2013 Initiative see the bicentenary as a great opportunity for Livingstone and Zambia to bring together our own Zambian culture with those of our neighbouring countries, nations where David Livingstone also lived, worked, travelled and explored, through a Cultural Arts Festival and Street Carnival of African culture, music, dance and art. The first ever Livingstone International Cultural Arts Festival will be held on 21 and 22 June and will become an annual event on the international calendar in Livingstone. With the backdrop of the Victoria Falls spray seen from the town centre, rhythm and stunning views can be experienced by all who come to this great new party.


The Festival is timed to coincide with the arrival of direct flights from Nairobi to Livingstone, by Kenyan Airways, a major sponsor of this event. The airline will be flying in a cultural group of Masai warriors to mark the occasion.


Many countries have shown great interest in the event, including the Seychelles, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Kenya, India and Cuba. Invitations have gone out to fifteen nations in total, including the USA, China, Turkey, UK, South Korea and Egypt, to come and participate and bring a cultural dance or music group to the Festival.


Through the very generous sponsorship of Safari Par Excellence, the renowned UK Caribbean Steel Orchestra, The Melodians, will be extending their visit to Zambia and will come to Livingstone to take part in the Festival. This will add a very different lively rhythm and beat to the Festival, yet one which also has its roots in Africa. Over this fun and spectacular two day period, we will be celebrating the vibrant and colourful diversity of culture not only from Africa but also elsewhere in the world.


The Seychelles and Zimbabwe have already confirmed they will attend and Zimbabwe will bring with them a live band in addition to a cultural dance group.


The Regional Tourism Association of Southern Africa (RETOSA) will be hosting a regional meeting of Ministers and Chief Executives from its member Tourism Boards and those attending will also bring a cultural group with them to participate in the Festival.


The festivities will kick-off on Friday 21 June at the Victoria Falls where there will be a photo shoot of the Zambian Maramba Cultural team, the Masai and other dancers and drummers on the Victoria Falls Bridge, on the banks of the Zambezi River and on Livingstone Island, if the river water level is low enough to give safe access to the island.


There will be a wonderful cacophony of music, drums and dancing as the Street Carnival winds its way slowly up through the centre of Livingstone on Friday afternoon, with participating countries proceeding along Livingstone’s main street, Mosi-oa-Tunya Road. This will be an eye-catching extravaganza for all to enjoy and the route will be from Falls Park Mall through town to the Livingstone Royal Golf & Country Club. Some groups will be on foot, some on flatbed trucks, which local artists will be invited to decorate. This will be followed by live bands performing on stage at the Golf Club in the evening. Elsewhere in Livingstone, foreign dignitaries will be invited to attend a Gala Dinner.


On Saturday 22 June, there will be fun for everyone with performances at the Golf Club, pavilions promoting participating nations through culture, art and tourism. There will be Zambian masked dancers moving around amongst the spectators, African drumming, cultural dancing, arts, crafts, food and music.


“We wanted this to be a community festival, so we will be encouraging the people to come along, bring a drum or buy a drum at the festival, and join in The African Beat later in the afternoon, when school children and students will join in concentric rainbow circles around the central stage prior to the Prize Giving and Finale”, said Felix Chaila, MD of the Zambia Tourism Board.


This Festival is a collaboration between The Livingstone Arts, Cultural & Sporting Events Development Organisation (LACSEDO)  and The David Livingstone Bicentenary & Livingstone 2013 Initiative, The Zambia Tourism Board, The Ministry of Tourism, The Department of Culture and other organisations, all working in partnership.


LACSEDO which is behind the bicentenary initiative is a non-profit-making Trust with the aim of being a private-public partnership, working with the community, business, and government.


“We are forging links between the UK and Livingstone, to mark the bicentenary of David Livingstone this year”, says Fred Mwendapole, Government and Community Liaison Officer for the organisation. “We are hosting international arts, cultural and sporting events to celebrate this which kick-started on 19 March and will run through to 16 November. We aim to ensure there is a lasting legacy moving forward from this bicentennial year. This is something for everyone in the community.”


For further information, please visit www.livingstone2013.com or email events@livingstone2013.com

 By Belinda Hodge

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