The people of Mwazisi in Rumphi, Jenda in Mzimba and Kasungu Boma had an opportunity to watch free performances by Nanzikambe Arts which culminated into discussions of the long-shelved Tenancy Bill in Malawi.
The Blantyre-based theatre company has kick-started its 2012 theatrical journey by staging a series of community performances ofÃ‚Â its 2011 adaptation of Kenyan NgugiÃ‚Â wa Thiongo’s I will Marry When I WantÃ‚Â Malawian adaptation in both rural and urban localities.
The adaptation has been re-enacted to explore the tenancy system in tobacco estates and lobby government to table the labour bill in Parliament sooner than later.
Among other things, the play is set on a tobacco estate.
Through the lives of the main charactersÃ¢â‚¬â€a tenant family Jonathan Kulipanji Malata (played by Henry Ntalika) and his wife (Ootulie Masanza); an estate owning family ChinakanakaÃ‚Â (Jeremiah Mwaungulu) and his wife (Juliet Royo) and the Mumba family (Misheck Mzumara and Patuma Danger)Ã¢â‚¬â€the targeted audienceÃ‚Â witness theÃ‚Â dire plight of tenants in the estates where theÃ‚Â country’s major forex earner is produced.
In an interview, Nanzikambe’s project officer Misheck Mzumara said Nanzikambe is complementing efforts of a taskforce that has beenÃ‚Â lobbying for the bill which has not been passed into a law since 1995.
The lobby is being spearheaded by Malawi Congress of Trade Union (MCTU), Malawi Economic Justice Network (Mejn), Tenants and Allied Workers Union of Malawi (Totawum), Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) and Trocaire .
Said Mzumara:Ã‚Â “It’s unfortunate that the bill has never been tabled. The tenants we have met have described tenancy in Malawi as slavery and many say they are waiting for the second coming of Christ who will relieve them from this bondage.
“However, I should say there seems to be progress and that the task force is optimistic that the bill will be tabled in the next parliamentary sitting.”
According to Nanzikambe Arts programme manager and director of the adaptation, Thokozani Kapiri, the play targets selected estates and makers across the country.
“Support is being raised at every level of the estate for the Tobacco tenancy bill. This means the case for passing the Bill in Parliament will be much stronger as demand will be grass-roots driven yet support will be sought from the highest levels as well,” said Kapiri.
On Saturday, Nanzikambe held a free show at Crossroads Hotel before an audience comprising the donor community, politicians, lawyers, intellectuals,Ã‚Â artists and lay citizens.
The act was followed by discussion on major challenges facing the tabling of the eagerly awaited bill.