A year after Karonga Cultural and Museum Centre sounded an SOS for the rehabilitation of the museum’s cracking roof, no work has taken place due to inadequate funds.
The centre needed K20 million ($35,714) to replace the dinosaur-shaped roof made of onduline (plastic material) which had reached its highest point of dryness.
But they raised K5 million ($8,929) in cash, and K2 million ($3,571) in pledges that are yet to be fulfilled.
The museum’s manager, Winston Mwagomba, said they have since abandoned the idea of procuring onduline to settle for iron sheets.
“The question was ‘If the present material has disappointed us, what material should be used?’ The company that supplied the material was ready to make good of the areas where onduline roof was damaged.
“But during a meeting some weeks ago, we agreed to abandon onduline material. We want a permanent solution and, therefore, we settled for iron sheets. These will also be made into the shape of a dinosaur,” said Mwagomba.
He said they are in talks with Safintra Malata who are ready to replace the roof at a cost of K7.3 million. He said the museum has about K5 million in its fixed account, specially opened for the rehabilitation of the roof.
“We are now in discussion to find ways of covering the gap. Most possibly we will be approaching well wishers to come in,” he said.
Karonga Museum is the most popular tourist destination in the district. It is home to the 150-million-year-old fossil Malawisaurus discovered south of Karonga.
It displays an exhibit titled From Dinosaurs to Democracy, which chronicles the area’s history.
This time last year, there were fears that the onset of rains would damage such artefacts. The museum devised a plan to cover the treasures with plastic materials.
But it transpired, later on when the rains started, that “there were just leakages here and there”.
“We were putting buckets in places where there were leakages. But no artefact was damaged. This year, we will be doing the same,” said Mwagomba.
The museum’s roof has a lifespan of 15 years, but suppliers did not take into consideration the hot weather aspect of Karonga. As a result, with only 10 years after construction, the roof had worn out. n