Malawi’s long time theatre darling Eric Mabedi is in need of over K20 million to enable him travel to India for a kidney-transplant surgery.
The amount is to cater for his travelling expenses, his guardian, the kidney donor and lodging while in India. It will also cover the cost of the surgery which is estimated at around $14 000 (about K10 million).
Mabedi said doctors at Mwaiwathu Hospital in Blantyre where he has been receiving treatment for the condition for years, have made the recommendation after noting the condition of his kidney which they say can no longer function effectively.
“I have been attending dialysis sessions at the hospital for sometime now. But this intervention was just for interim relief. Now we want to seek a permanent solution for my kidney problem. I have relied on self-injected insulin for years which has weakened my kidneys,” he said.
His deteriorating health has limited his performances of late, his last outing coming as far back as July 6 at the Blantyre Cultural Centre (BCC). He has been battling diabetes since 1994.
Meanwhile, a group of concerned individuals calling themselves Friends of Mabedi, has established a committee to mobilise funds through various initiatives in support of the cause.
Publicity secretary of the group, Higger Mkandawire, said they have taken it upon themselves to help Mabedi after being moved by his present situation being a person who has given so much to the Malawi nation in both educative and entertaining arts.
Mkandawire said: “We are just waiting to receive a go ahead from Mabedi and his doctors at Mwaiwathu who are yet to finalise arrangements with their counterparts in India. As soon as we get that nod we will start our initiative as we have targeted early October to have him leave.”
Other individuals who have been incorporated in the committee include Dr Staphael Kalengo of Mwaiwathu Hospital, media personalities Anthony Kasunda and George Kasakula and musician Patience Namadingo.
When contacted, Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma), media relations officer Rosario Kamanga said Mabedi will be given the necessary social welfare privileges just like any member of the body in his time of need.
Mabedi has wowed audiences since he made his breakthrough in theatre in 1984 when he, alongside the late John Nyanga, starred in Kwathu Drama Group’s adaption of Willie Zingani’s novel Madzi Akatayika.
He went on to form a formidable partnership with Nyanga through the years which saw the pair form the popular comic duet of Izeki and Jacob till the death of Nyanga in 2015. The two went on to break milestones in their artistic journey, some of which are yet to be equalled.
In 1992 they recorded their first comedy play on tapes titled Kukhala. In 2006 the pair released a DVD titled Njinga whose success was countered by huge piracy of the production. It was followed by their successful production I am The Road You Walk in 2008.
At the moment, Mabedi is serving the final of his five year term as National Theatre Association of Malawi president. In July he was appointed by President Peter Mutharika as board chairperson for Cosoma. He is also director for Kwathu Drama Group. n