Artists that use Blantyre Cultural Centre (BCC) have hailed government for kick-starting the second phase of renovations at the centre.
A spot check on Sunday showed that the second phase of the renovations is going is being undertaken. The second phase involves plumbing, painting and electrical installation following the maintenance of the amphitheatre two years ago.
One of the workers who was interviewed on site said the second phase will be completed in two weeks time.
“We can comfortably say that we are waiting for the next funding because this phase has already ended. We are doing final touches on painting,” said the plumber, who refused to give his name.
Ministry of Sports and Culture spokesperson Christopher Mbukwa said the next funding will be released in the next financial year, which starts in July.
“We are aware that the renovations have started well and that there is speedy progress. And the ministry is also committed to keep the pace; hence, come July, we will also release another chunk of funding,” said Mbukwa.
Principal secretary in the Ministry of Sports and Culture Sam Madula visited the centre last week and has assured artists of speedy work.
“As government, we are committed to renovate the centre so that it becomes usable. This is part of government’s efforts to uplift the development of arts and culture in the country,” said Madula.
It is estimated that the renovation of the BCC will cost K350 million (about $508 000) over two and half years. The ministry released K70 million in the last two months which was meant for electrical installations, plumbing, carpentry, painting and roof waterproofing.
Meanwhile, artists have expressed their pleasure over the commencement of the renovation.
“This is what we have been waiting for and we urge government to continue with the work so that the centre becomes fully operational,” said poet Raphael Sitima.
BCC is one of the affordable venues in the country which is a platform for artists to showcase performances.
However, the artist’s economic activities have been choked in the past five years after the BCC was ransacked after government slackened in deploying security to the facility after it purchased it from the French government. n