Northern Malawi will remember 2012 for remarkable achievements in the arts despite closure of Mzuzu’s vibrant venue—The Key Lounge.
In September, Mzuzu University (Mzuni) hosted an international conference on Malawian literature which brought together inspiring papers on the state of writing. Headlined by a keynote address by And Crocodile Are Hungry at Night author Jack Mapanje, the gathering of giants pooled perspectives of the likes of Lupenga Mphande, Mpalive Msiska, Jessie Kabwila, Timwa Lipenga and Malawi Writers Union president Mike Sambalikagwa Mvona. They came. They hit the nail on the head. The onus remains on the doorstep of Mzuni to compile their musings for the good of the literary world.
In music, Karonga-based Lusubilo Band won Chibuku Road to Fame Competition in August. Last month, F-Kiz (real name Felix Kakangula) emerged the best rapper in the Rap, Dance and DJ Sprite Competition.
Despite the feats, this was a bad year for Kid Mkandawire. The Denmark-based Vimbuza moderniser’s homecoming tour was marred by nearly empty venues—and he cancelled the Sunbird Mzuzu’s Boma Park show because he was greeted by less than 10 faces.
“It was great to be home and perform in front of family and friends,” said Kid.
But it may be a call for greater reconnection with the crowds which might have forgotten his good old days with the legendary Bright Nkhata and Makasu.
Equally uninspiring was drama—save for Manase Chisiza’s Christmas production African Nativity. The regional chapter of National Theatre Association of Malawi (Ntam) rescheduled Mzuzu Arts Festival to April 2013 due to lack of funds.
To move forward, the artists must not bask in the glories of yesteryear, but strive to beat their history.