Local musician John Malunga says Malawi is sitting on a time-bomb which threatens its traditional values that form part of fundamental blocks of her existence. Hence the need to take a brave stand to save the country from the raiding crisis.
Speaking with On the Arts, Malunga said art was one powerful weapon to reverse the situation.
He said: “One of the pressing challenges facing Malawi today is wearing away of its cultural values due to Western influence. For example, people have embraced different forms of dressing that defy certain patterns of traditional values. It is against this background that I embarked on a DVD project that promotes some of the country’s culture.”’
The DVD, titled Mwambo, explores some forms of dressing and dance such as Ingoma that is performed by Ngonis.
It was produced by John Ngulube of Positive Arts while the audio was done by Frank Allan and Gift Chisamba.
Malunga simply described Mwambo, which features such tracks as Ndege, Kam’dothi, Mwambo, Khethemu, Mwana Aphunzire, Kamchacha, Ngina and Zinyama, as an advocacy tool.
He said: “Basically, the album is advocating for change in our society. I believe the power to change the way we look at our culture, children’s upbringing is vested in us. So, as proud Malawians and Africans, change begins with us.”
The Lilongwe-based musician was spotted in Blantyre and Limbe markets selling his DVD using a public address system mounted to a car.
He, however, bemoaned lack of stable market for music as a contributing factor to the everyday struggles for the country’s musicians.
Malunga noted that the closure of reliable music stores such as O.G Issa and Citinati Music Company has worsened the plight of the country’s musicians.
Said Malunga: “Today, a musician has become a singer, producer, manager and marketer of their own work because the market environment is hostile. We are not benefitting from our music so we are afraid to engage the services of a second party to manage our products. After all, what are we going to give them after rendering their services?”
Malunga appealed to the government through the Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) to speed up the enactment of the new Copyright Bill which imposes a fine of K5 million to pirates to protect the rights of artists in the country.
He said the current copyright laws were weak; hence, many music players abandoning the industry.