Gregory Gondwe, Malawi Best Blogger 2014

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Malawian Musicians are Lake of Stars too!

The pen would like to drum out what ‘Talking Arts’ has bellowed in other pages of this host newspaper’s sisters. The cue line for me is that Malawian artists are also Lake of Stars.
Lake of Stars was mooted to offer a two way benefit to the nation, thus helping out the Malawi economy as well as promoting Malawi musicians.
Lakeshore districts attract tourists especially those that come to admire the beautiful Lake Malawi and its characteristic beaches. My take is that as a value addition undertaking to this naturalistic beauty, an event called lake of stars was started.
Mind you, the 2006 financial report says the tourism industry then contributed about 5.5 % to GDP in the country.
Organisers of the event have never come clean, clean in the sense of publishing in the media how much money they rake in when organising an event like this one.
In the first place I won’t hear statements like, “we do not benefit anything all we are doing is helping Malawian tourism” because no one has ever asked for help for Malawi in that sense. For sure these organisers would not have been around all these years if they were getting nothing from this undertaking.
After all, I know people from the West do not do things for free.
Ask reggae musicians they will tell you that what is even regarded as foreign aid is just paying back .0003 percent of what the West took from Africa in terms of human resources during slavery as well as returning what they got through theft of other resources like minerals, oil and timber stolen prior, during and after colonisation.
Well, I am incensed because of the abuse and exploitation that local musicians experience unknowingly or otherwise when they partake in the event.
While the organisers are not wholly to blame since bands like Black Missionaries or Lucius Banda and his Zembani Band do not have a serious firm that can knowingly manage them as musical entities, the blame nonetheless is squarely hanged on the organisers.
Malawi is equally abused when the organisers try to satisfy their gluttonous egos by not only failing to do good to the country, but also failure to make local artists show the benefits accrued ever since they started partaking in the lake of stars event.
In the absence of published audited information on how the event is run from the word go to the end, I am bound to speculate that our government will never awaken from its slumber of gullibility and look with both eyes, to establish what it is that is not done right.
While I would not want to compare a living legend like Oliver Mtukudzi to our own Lucious Banda and while I know Mtukudzi is managed by a professional as compared to our own Lucious, but could there be any justification why Mtukudzi would get K2 million while Lucious will get K100, 000 for the same event?
While the former will play for two hours for say, a three day event, where they will have to play two hours daily in all these days, the latter will only play for an hour for just a day and leaves for home with a cool K2million.
As if this is not enough, the organisers used to say local artists will be invited to international stages for their participation in the event, if I may ask can the artists that have ever gone outside the country due to their participation in the lake of stars event raise up their hands?
Honestly, government should not just get its satisfaction with the sugar coated manoeuvre of some of these imported ventures, it need to go deeper into issues so that the country is not abused, and Prof. Zungwala’s musicians are not exploited, did I say Prof. Zungwala’s musicians, no, I meant to say Malawian artists.
Feedback: drummingpen@columnist.com

1 comment:

Muza said...

True, the organizers have never said how much the money is raised..this is important especially if they say proceeds go to charity...how much has gone to charity and whats happens in the event that they dont make money?

Greg, did u go?