Good people, Africa has spoken and Malawi is no pushover in moviemaking.
This was the endemic feeling when Joyce Mhango-Chavula won the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Award (AMVCA), one that politicians, who keep milking the famished cow called Malawi without feeding it anyway, always deny us.
It is a feeling of victory.
Reading the news, it was easy to mistake AMVCA for the acronym for Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Mvac) which confirmed ‘the Warm Heart of Africa’ is hungry with about 2.8 million Malawians facing abject food shortage.
Chavula, the supremo at Rising Choreos won us the honours and pride that no politician will ever bring for as long they think life is all about failing, refuting blatant failure and intimidating critics for saying what no mouth that speaks should be speaking against at all times.
By winning the Best Southern Africa motion picture gong, Chavula and his accomplices in the movie Lilongwe have shown that Malawians are no also-rans in the continent’s filmmaking culture.
I am talking the country’s less than emergent industry that has long been summed up by one name under the glow of Blantyre—Shemu Joyah, the man behind the rude awakening that is Seasons of a Life, the winner of several awards on these shores and beyond.
Good people, the first mention of the so-called viewers’ choice sounded almost no different from a dark joke of the year.
On this tip of Africa, it is easy to criticise the heavily publicised Africa Magic awards as another way of hoodwinking you and I to think everything Nigerian represents the best of the continent.
Here, MultiChoice, the company that brings Africa Magic and other pan – African content to the silver screen of your digital satellite TV, for horribly being crowded by the fallacy that holds the continent’s most populated country as the beginning and the end of Africa, a continent comprising 53 more countries than just Nigeria.
Winning is emerging the best of winners, beating the very best.
Looking at Joyce flying in to a thunderous welcome in the country, standing aloft in an open-roof vehicle and displaying her latest acquisition to all who have eyes to see was a testament to her time-honoured links with Nollywood, the continent’s best movie industry by sales and reach alone.
Here is a striver who has been so involved in making Malawian film industry a phenomenon modelled along Nigeria’s scene—though it is not the best of the best when it comes to international standards.
We are talking about the lady who brought the likes of Mama G Patience Ozokwor and Desmond Elliot live on stage in a singular belief that if you want to be the best you must learn from the best.
Through her award-winning movie Lilongwe, Chavula has shown us Nollywood standards are not beyond reach.
We need to beat them if we care about quality and national pride.
Still, this is the reach no imposter, both political or footballing, has ever scaled.
Malawi plays host to the best athlete in the name of Australia-based netball star Mwai Kumwenda.
We have the potential to produce the best icons in the lines of Lupita Nyong’o. It begins with supporting industries that are working, not multimillion kwacha flops. For once, we are not a land of hunger, but audacity of belief. n