German Ambassador Jurgen Borsch has a passion for arts.
Apart from showcasing his dance prowess alongside his American counterpart Virginia Palmer during Lulu’s jazz session at Capital City Motel Gardens last week, Borsch went an extra mile to exhibit at this year’s Blantyre Arts Festival (BAF) at Blantyre Cultural Centre (BCC).
Dubbed My Berlin, Borsch and Germany Embassy’s photo exhibition was a collection that depicts a true life story of Berlin City in Germany.
Speaking during the official preview of the VIP exhibition on Thursday, Borsch highlighted the development ties between Malawi and Germany, saying it is facilitating a vibrant cultural exchange.
“My Berlin is an exhibition which will take you to Berlin while in Malawi. It is more of an introduction to Berlin. There are so many connections between Germany and Malawi, and we value this because it is strengthening our relationship, including cultural exchange,” he said.
He also committed support towards BAF to promote the country’s culture.
Borsch has also been to this year’s Umhlangano wa Maseko, the annual Maseko Ngoni cultural festival in Ntcheu, among other top cultural gatherings in Malawi.
While appealing to local companies to invest in the local arts, BAF executive director Thomas Chibambo said Borsch’s passion for arts is inspiring the country, including BAF to do more.
“The commitment which different diplomats, including Borsch are showing Malawi is inspiring to the country’s arts industry. They are giving us 100 reasons to go ahead with such events. If local companies and individuals emulate this gesture, Malawi’s creative industries will be the same,” said Chibambo.
His remarks were corroborated by the festival’s chairperson Alfred Msadala who advocated for hefty investments and political will towards arts.
“We need to change out mindset if we want to change the country’s creative industries for the better. We all need to move one direction and commit resources towards arts projects such as festivals,” said Msadala.
However, this year’s BAF has also exposed government’s lack of interest to revamp the venue, the BCC, which is still rundown. This development forced most of the exhibitions to be mounted at Jacaranda Cultural Centre (JCC) and Maison De la France at Mandala Buliding in Blantyre.
The only space which is looking good is the main auditorium where Borsch’s exhibition has been mounted.
This year’s festival was dominated by music performances apart from drama and theatre.
As of Sunday, the festival had attracted performances from Chichiri Prison Cultural Troupe, Kwathu Drama Group, Japanese martial arts demonstrations and music and poetry performances by Waliko Makhala, Masha and Arne, Thocco Katimba, Gloria Kampingu Manong’a, Snoden Ibu, Agorosso, Sylvester Kalizang’oma, Raphael Sitima, Aunt Geti, Mr Malawi and Joseph Madzedze at both JCC and BCC. n