Arts associations in the country need to be independent, the Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) has said.
Cosoma executive director Dora Makwinja made the statement yesterday when The Nation sought her comment regarding rental challenges facing arts associations in Malawi.
For years, arts associations have been operating from Blantyre Arts House with their rentals being paid by funds from the Norwegian Embassy’s Cultural Support Scheme project administered by Cosoma.
Some of the associations include Malawi Writers Union (Mawu), Musicians Union of Malawi (MUM), National Theatre Association of Malawi (Ntam), Visual Arts Association of Malawi (Vaam) and Poetry Association of Malawi (PAM).
However, the project phased out December last year, a development which forced Cosoma and the associations to use money from reprographic rights to pay rentals for the next three months [January, February and March].
This means after the three months, arts associations risk operating without offices.
Makwinja said that projects have timeframe.
“In this case, there is nothing we can do, but to encourage arts associations to strengthen their capacity for sustainability purposes,” she said.
Mawu president Tsambalikagwa Mvona indicated that arts associations have petitioned Ministry of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development to allocate them space at Blantyre Cultural Centre (BCC).
But reacting to Mvona’s sentiments, the Ministry of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development Christopher spokesperson Mbukwa said there is no such formal request from arts associations.
Meanwhile, the renovations at BCC are going at a snail’s pace with most rooms suitable for offices still in unusable state.
The biggest challenge is broken windows, doors and ceiling that require heavy investment to maintain. n