I have often opined that the coronavirus (Covid-19) global pandemic has come to embarrass humanity. Within a short space of time, the pandemic has brought down systems that we previously thought were impermeable.
Covid-19 has humbled the most feared and respected personalities in our societies. It has rendered useless the trusted processes that have sustained us for years. Above all, it has crippled the sources that allowed many to go home with a loaf of bread at the end of the day.
If I am allowed to dwell on the situation the local creative industry is having to contend with in light of this pandemic, I would tell you it does not make good reading. Following government’s directive limiting to less than 100’s gatherings at one place at a time, it effectively meant no live performances for them.
This has meant that since last month no artist has held a live performance in the country. And in the Malawian setup, artists rely heavily on revenue they generate from live performances than sales because of the piracy cancer.
And a good number of these creatives solely rely on their art as a source of living. Now a whole life has been taken away from them. They are facing their spouses and children with no clue as to how they will make it to the next day.
But let us now look at it the other way. The coronavirus disease has no cure. Work in various laboratories continues in many parts of the world with the hope of cracking what maybe the biggest breakthrough in this century to find a cure to this disease.
It means that at best, efforts in trying to contain the disease are better invested in preventive measures. And how do you achieve that? You need a lot of sensitisation and awareness creation initiatives.
From how Malawians have reacted to the initial precautionary measures that the government effected after the first cases were reported in Malawi, it shows there are huge gaps in terms of their understanding of what the disease is about and the possible damage it can cause to our lives.
And here we are, with a creative workforce that has been left redundant because of the restrictions that have been employed as part of the Covid-19 fight. I am asking myself if it is not possible to rope in some of these players to help in disseminating messages of the pandemic.
The appeal that most of these figures command among the masses cannot be compared to any of the figures spearheading the coronavirus fight in the name of a ministerial taskforce. They can read their long statements everyday on TV but the appeal that Piksy or Lucius Banda can earn if asked to deliver the same message is significantly huge.
Individually, several artists have created content tackling the coronavirus pandemic. None that I have heard of has received any help from the Ministry of Health (MoH). I have heard a song from Skeffa Chimoto, Piksy, Phyzix and others.
Is it not possible from that K157 billion budget the MoH has set aside for the Covid-19 fight to allocate some resources to engage creatives to create awareness messages of this disease?
That gesture cannot only help in keeping them active in these hard and dry times but will also allow them to earn something. That little cushion is all that everyone needs for now. That cake is enough for everyone.
In my last week’s entry I poured praises on an initiative championed by the Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) in their continued pursuit to enforce copyright laws in the country. With sadness we learnt that one figure who has been part of this fight for long Rosario Kamanga had died.
In the spirit of loss and sadness, I would like to salute you Rosario for the dedication that you showed in trying to craft a better story for local creatives in as far as copyright is concerned. You had a mission and sadly you didn’t live till the end of your dream.
We will remain proud of your selfless efforts. May you rest well Rosario!