He can best be described as Malawi’s entertainment mogul. He has several popular entertainment joints, including up market spots. Meet the man behind, Zanzi, Diplomats and recently the Living Room Cafe, Jam Kaunda.
A filmmaker by training, Kaunda took a break after it was becoming difficult to raise funds for his projects.
“For four years, I did film training in Indiana, USA then further training at Hollywood in Los Angeles where I did film production. While there, I wrote, directed, edited and produced my movie, then went to South Africa where my intention was to tell African stories.
“I only did two feature stories and ended up giving up the project due to lack of funds. I then launched an entertainment guide called Jozi Weekly, which was providing information about the happenings of top joints in Johannesburg. As such, I had the pleasure of visiting a couple of places and restaurants,” said Kaunda in an exclusive interview.
After about a four -year stint in the Rainbow Nation, Jam came back to Malawi where he established himself as an entertainment magnate.
Said Kaunda: “In Lilongwe, my dream of having a club running only during weekends finally materialised two years ago when I started Zanzi, which is the only club in Malawi with three dance floors.
“From there on, I have grown to what I am today, establishing my name on the entertainment scene in terms of providing good venues for fun-loving people like me,” he said.
In March 2012,an opportunity arose through a friend.
“My friend approached me to partner into the running of one of the few upmarket bars, in Lilongwe, the Diplomats, a bar that boasts of great decor. I was very interested not because of the business only, but the fact that we will be offering a meeting point for a certain class of people after Zanzi, which though there is mixed patronage, but the majority are the youth,” he explained.
But coming from an arts and entertainment background, there was something missing from the list of what this entertainment guru wants to provide to people – a cafe where people enjoy sumptuous food, beverages and drinks with an accompanying soothing ambience. And then, the Living Room was born.
“I felt there was need for a place where artists can come and share their skills like painting, photography, interior decorating, poetry, music, among the many others. With my love for coffee, I established the Living Room in November last year,” he said.
Those who may think the three outfits are enough for Kaunda are in for a shock.
“I will be back in June this year with the next big thing on the entertainment scene. As for now, you are either at Zanzi or Diplomats and of course in the Living Room,” he said cheekily.
While his dream is to give night life a difference by providing diverse places of having fun, Kaunda is not into the entertainment industry for good.
“My plan is to do this for about three to five years then go back to what I learn’t, filmmaking. The businesses are to help me raise funds for my passion,” he said enthusiastically.