The dream of having a vibrant cultural centre in Malawi has been revived by the Jacaranda Foundation who, in conjunction with the French Embassy, opened the Jacaranda Cultural Centre at the historical Mandala Building in Blantyre.
The centre was opened by the Mayor of Blantyre City Noel Chalamanda who expressed gratitude to the French Embassy for promoting arts, culture and French linguistic activities in Malawi.
The development comes five years after the French government closed and sold the French Cultural Centre (FCC) to the Malawi government, which has since been turned into Blantyre Cultural Centre (BCC).
Speaking during the opening of the centre, the France Honorary Consul in Malawi Luc Deschamps, who is also the executive director of Jacaranda Foundation, said the centre seeks to uplift the country’s arts and cultural development.
“We want to take Malawi’s cultural and arts development to the next level by creating a space where different activities and programmes could be encouraged and promoted. The emphasis of the centre is to nurture youths’ potential by giving them a platform to showcase their artistic talents,” he said.
Deschamps said the earlier Malawi children and youth are exposed to arts the more culturally conscious citizens they become.
“At Jacaranda Foundation we believe in the power of arts in unearthing children’s and youths’ hidden talents and expressions. Through the arts vulnerable learners find their voices, gain confidence and skills which contribute to success of their studies and life,” said Deschamps.
The Jacaranda Cultural Centre is also known as Maison de la France (House of France) which seeks to be a learning centre for French activities.
Other activities include a communication and information centre, concerts, exhibitions, movie screenings and conferences.
Since the closure of the FCC, Jacaranda Foundation has been organising French cultural and linguistic activities such as French drama competition which has been held in secondary school halls.
The current unfinished condition of Blantyre Culture Centre forced the French drama competition including other artistic activities to lack proper venues.
However, some of the country’s artists are amazed at the pace of Jacaranda Cultural Centre and its artistic impression at the Mandala building.
“The pace at which the set of this centre has been done shows how committed French government is to the development of arts and culture,” commented McArthur Matukuta of Solomonic Peacoks.
The inside walls of the Jacaranda Cultural Centre have paintings done by local artists such as Ellias Singano and Jacaranda students.
The ground floor has several rooms that are decorated with exhibition of different artworks, while the upper floor serves as a hall for stage performances, including other activities.
On his part, Chalamanda described Jacaranda Cultural Centre as relief to the city’s residents, particularly the youth. n