Illovo Sugar (Malawi) Limited has donated K1 million to Karonga Cultural and Museum Centre to support the rehabilitation of the museum’s cracking roof.
The cultural centre needs K30 million for the renovation project, but they have so far raised K7million.
Speaking at the donation ceremony on Wednesday in Karonga, Illovo corporate affairs manager Walter Nyamilandu-Manda said they donated to Karonga Museum after realising the important role the museum plays in the promotion and preservation of culture.
“We were approached by the museum that they have a project to reconstruct the roof, which is not in a good shape. We thought it made more sense because we are talking about a roof that is sheltering the museum.
“The museum plays a very big role in this country in terms of history, culture and arts. And Karonga being one of our main markets we thought it wise to come and support them,” he said.
He said it would be a big loss for the country if the museum loses the roof and, ultimately, fails to preserve the artefacts in the building.
Lead fundraising coordinator Nkhwachi Mhango said the roof was made of oduline, which is a plastic material and “has reached its highest point of dryness.”
“The roof is in a bad shape. With the rains coming, we have cause for worry because it is now leaking. The roof has a lifespan of 15 years, but suppliers did not take into consideration the weather aspect of Karonga. As a result, with only 10 years after construction, the roof has given in,” he said.
The cultural centre needs K20 million for the roof and K10 million for renovation of the museum in general.
Mhango disclosed that they have so far raised K7 million in cash and pledges.
The museum’s board chairperson Archibald Mwakasungula said the challenge with the museum is that “it is on the far end of the country.”
“This is in itself discriminatory. People who patronise the museum are few in number and far spaced. We receive many school children, but we can only charge K50 per child and K100 for adults. So, we have serious budgetary problems,” he said.
The cultural centre is also constructing an amphitheatre which has the sitting capacity of 1 500 people.