Artists have expressed hope that the new administration will commit to promote the industry by among other things providing adequate funding.
Their sentiments come in the wake of the ushering in a new President at the weekend. Lazarus Chakwera, who stood under the Malawi Congress Party (MCP)/Tonse Alliance banner, was declared winner of the court-ordered fresh presidential election held on June 23.
Random interviews with artists show that they are hopeful that the revised budget will reflect an improvement from the status quo.
Filmmakers Association of Malawi (Fama) president Eziaus Mkandawire said he hopes that the new budget will contain projects specifically tailored to have direct investment from the government.
He said: “The challenge has been that we do not have adequate funding in the sector. The way we have fared in the past is awful. We have failed to ignite growth of the sector by our failure to implement projects.”
Mkandawire added that artists hope the change in administration will bring an end to the sector woes.
Visual artist Madalitso Ziwaoh also said artists have high expectations from the new administration.
“From what they have been saying, it shows their approach is inclusive though we are not sure how they will help in uplifting the plight of artists,” he said.
Musicians Union of Malawi president Gloria Manong’a said they are hoping that the new administration will help in revamping the music sector by helping in unlocking the potential that is otherwise going to waste.
She said: “Previously, there has not been any involvement between us and the government when drafting the budget. We have been complaining because we were always sidelined.”
Manong’a said music, just like any other sector, requires adequate funding for it to thrive and make a significant contribution to the country’s gross development product.
On his part, National Theatre Association of Malawi president Eric Mabedi said artists want the new government to set aside funds that can be used to institute the Arts Council.
“Through the Arts Council, artists will be able to get assistance and opportunities. We have lobbied for the council for a long time and I hope this time around the new government will put it in place,” he said.
Mabedi said they hope that artists in the august House will further lobby for a better package in the budget.
Some of the long standing issues in the arts industry are the renovation of Blantyre Cultural Centre, construction of a cultural centre in Lilongwe and the setting up of the Arts Council which would be responsible for the promotion of various arts disciplines.
Though the previous budgets contained provisions of some of these projects, only the rehabilitation of Blantyre Cultural Centre commenced. But it is yet to be finalised.