Last week, Malawi had the privilege of hosting 41st Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) in Lilongwe.
As expected, the magnificent Bingu International Convention Centre (Bicc) was a beehive of activities from as early as last week when international delegates started trickling in for the event.
Traditionally, events of this magnitude come with many underlying benefits as people from different countries and with different interests converge in a city. Tales are told of how the effect of such gatherings spills over even to our friends operating in the oldest trade.
So, going by that, the expectation is that even in this Covid-19 induced lean economic period, the turnovers at Bwandilo, Area 10, Area 25 Centre Point, the two Biwi—Upper and Lower, WakaWaka and other busy places have been more than impressive.
It is always an interesting time such that even the ‘Side Boys’ or call them fixers must also be smiling all the way to bureaux de change to exchange their decently earned dollars for kwachas.
In case you are wondering how the ‘Side Boys’ come into the equation. A visitor elsewhere always calls on the services of the town boys from the hosting nation. The guides lead them around town, link them with the best service providers, offer the guise and protection when required. The web is that beautifully complex.
But back to the real matters at hand. The Visual Arts Association of Malawi (Vaam) is one establishment which smelled the opportunity that comes along with such regional meetings.
Vaam and its membership mounted a stall at Bicc, where they exhibited their work during the two-day summit. That was some masterstroke and deservedly their exhibitions earned the visibility and attention as per the objectives of the initiative.
Indeed this summit will forever be memorable to artist Madalitso Ziwaoh, whose face painting of eight presidents probably provided more excitement than the presidents’ collective pronouncements which may never be fulfilled.
The involvement of Vaam may look small on paper but the networking footprints they have laid may pay big one day. The kind of aggressiveness as shown by the Vaam leadership is what we need in the creative industry.
We should never limit ourselves, we should never get tired of trying and pushing. Success is earned, rarely or hardly does it fall on someone’s lap. For us to make the breakthrough we desire, we need to put in the right shifts and make sacrifices. It will come, but it won’t come easy.
The Makhadzi factor
Weeks ago some interesting tidings happened in the music industry. Two major festivals announced South Africa’s house music star Makhadzi as their events headliner.
Ironically, both these festivals are taking place in October with Sand Music Festival scheduled for October 1 to 4 and the Hangout Festival to follow on October 29 to 31.
The development caused a debate as some quarters argued the rationale of lining up the same artist within a short period of time. It was a debate I followed keenly as I tried to appreciate the merits and demerits of the outcome.
But weeks later, I am yet to appreciate the flipside of booking the South African twice. The festivals are separate and independent of each other. They have unique objectives and either has its own execution plan.
Let madam Makhadzi come and enjoy our chambo and the fresh breeze offered by our fresh water body, the Lake Malawi. The many times she will come to Malawi, for how many different gigs does not matter. All we expect of her is to deliver her best on stage. Welcome Madam Makhadzi.