The sound of the music made the occasion feel like one of those celebratory moments. But a closer look at the scene told a different story.
The attire of the patrons was black. In their hands were different placards with messages condemning rape and defilement as well as other forms of sexual violence.
Artists had come together at Njamba Freedom Park in Blantyre on Saturday to make their voice heard on the issue which has shocked the nation.
“We are here to make our voice heard. We are tired of the rising cases of rape. Enough is enough,” said Mibawa television popular presenter Daniel Thom who was the director of ceremonies.
He invited comedian Macheza, real name Nigel Mzati Grant Kabango, to address the gathering.
“As a country, we need to see to it that these rape cases have come to an end. Authorities and guardians must work together to safeguard our children,” said the comedian in his address.
After his address, musician Tuno took to the stage to perform. It was not the usual performance meant to entertain. It was a performance with a difference. The song titled We Stand Here was all about condemning rape and defilement and asking why the crimes have come to such levels.
Speaking during her performance, the musician said being a mother herself, she lives in fear of her daughter being sexually abused.
“The slightest noise at night frightens me. I fear for her [daughter] safety. I fear the same for other young children in Malawi. This thing should come to an end. Enough is enough,” she said.
In a separate interview, the musician revealed that she was attacked and almost raped thrice and those incidents left a lasting impact on her life.
Taking her turn, leader and organiser of the event Bernice Ferrera said as artists, they decided to add their voice to condemn rising cases of rape and defilement.
She said: “The key message is for us to work together for the betterment of our beloved country, for children to feel safe again and for women not to constantly look over their shoulders. Rapists once found guilty, they should be given the harshest punishment possible.”
Ferrera said prior to the event at Njamba, the artists circulated posters with messages sharing experiences on rape.
“We also held important discussions with law enforcement which have encouraged us to do more events like this one in the rural areas,” she said.
Dancer Kelvin Mapira then took to the stage to spice up the occasion with his dance moves to the sound of various remixes of Afro-pop popular songs.
At the end of the event, rape survivors also spoke and shared their experiences.
They included the story about a woman who said she was sexually abused in Israel while wearing a hijab.
“Rape does not occur because of dressing. I was attacked while fully dressed from my neck to my ankles. In fact, the only things visible were my eyes as I even covered my head and my face,” she said.
Artists involved in the campaign included Tuno, Buccie, Ron CZ, comedian Macheza real name Nigel Mzati Grant Kabango, among others.
On November 3, Association of Women in Media (Awome) members took to the streets to protest the rising cases of sexual violence against women and girls. They handed over a petition to government demanding stiff punishments for offenders.