Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) on Friday lived up to its pledge of making its Innovations Awards the ‘cream of galas’ when it gave educational scholarships to the 10 inaugural winners.
The public broadcaster recognised 10 individuals who have made impact in the fields of health, education, agriculture, science and technology, arts, entrepreneurship (large and small scale), disability, environment and sports.
The winners will travel to Egypt and China for one month trainings in areas of their expertise in each of the two countries.
MBC director general, Aubrey Sumbuleta said all the winners will travel to Egypt and then China where they will undergo intensive trainings in line with their specialisation.
“We have secured trainings in those specific fields in the two countries; so, it’s not like these winners are going there for fun, but to further perfect their expertise,” explained Sumbuleta.
According to MBC public relations officer Thembi Malinki, arrangements for the trips will begin in January 2016, which will include ensuring that all the winners have proper travel documents.
During the red carpet gala held at the College of Medicine (CoM) Sports Complex in Blantyre where President Peter Mutharika was guest of honour, MBC presented to each winner a trophy and a K500 000 cash prize.
However, the hero of the night was Sautso Ndalama, a 27-year-old physically challenged disc jockey (DJ), music producer and video editor.
The Nsanje-based DJ proved that disability is not inability when he scooped the disability award and the prestigious innovator of innovators award.
Among others, Ndalama was nominated because of a music video Chimakwana, which he produced and edited and is currently enjoying the best air play on MBC TV.
Besides receiving K500 000 (about $759) and a trophy, Ndalama also went away with a K1 million (about $1,518) cash prize.
The double-award-winner said determination and hard work are the recipes for his achievements.
“I am the only handicapped member in our family of six, but I never consider myself the weakest family member. I do not only make a decent living for myself, but I also pay school fees for relatives and create jobs for others,” he said.
The awardee also disclosed that the trips to Egypt and China will provide a platform for him to learn new skills.
“As you know China is far ahead of many countries in technological advancements, I am hoping to learn a lot during the one month I will be there and when I come back I plan to invest the money to boost my businesses,” he said.
He added: “My achievement should serve as a lesson to other people living with disabilities that our abilities should be stronger than disabilities. We cannot afford investing our energies in begging for alms and sympathy when we have talents and potential.”
Other winners included visual artist Elson Kambalu (arts category), Malawi’s only netball export Mwawi Kumwenda (sports category) and Thom Mpinganjira, owner of FDH Bannk (entrepreneur category—large scale).
Patrons were also treated to a blend of local music geniuses in Paul Banda, Ben Mankhamba and Lucky Stars Band and a cross section of Malawian cultural dances such as gule wamkulu, ingoma and tchopa.
However, the highlight of the performances was when patrons declined to listen to Malawi Police Band’s opting for the veteran ‘Sir Paul’ to stay put on the stage.
The development compelled one of the directors of ceremonies, Angela Chima, to re-invite Banda after he had already bid farewell to carry on entertaining the fully-packed hall. n