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Artists are not recognised when alive, says Kondwani Nankhumwa

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SAD MOMENT—Veteran actress Margaret Chikwembeya could not hold her tears

Leader of opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa says time has come for artists to be honoured when they are alive.

Nankhumwa said this Monday in Blantyre during the funeral ceremony of renowned actor Elson Soko popularly known as Anyoni.

“Artists are not recognised when they are alive, we fail to do that and yet they work tirelessly to entertain us,” he said.

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Nankhumwa said he was happy that the arts industry now has a Minister, Michael Usi, who is an artist.

“Usi has been in the arts industry and knows the challenges and I believe, he will be the voice of artists. Some of us tried but it was not our field,” he said.

Nankhumwa, who is also Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Vice President for the Southern Region, said he was saddened with Anyoni’s death.

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“I am here because I once worked at MBC with the late Soko, I started in 2002 until 2008 and at that time the late Soko was in the library. I was a reporter then and for one to find material, you had to go to the library and the late Soko was very effective in terms of assisting with information,” he said.

Nankhumwa said he learnt a lot from the late Soko in that “when you have talent, you have to use it well and pass it on to others”.

Minister of Information Gospel Kazako said his ministry had been hit by deaths including the dimice of Jolly Kalelo and Patrick Khoza—recently.

He said the government was aware of the challenges that artists were facing in the country.

“We are setting up a welfare fund for artists and we are also looking into the issue of Arts Council. The Arts Council will help in solving some of the challenges facing artists in the country,” Kazako said.

He said if the creative industry had good structures as is the case in other countries, the late Soko, who had everything in terms of talent would have been a millionaire.

MBC Director General Aubrey Sumbuleta, said the late Soko started working for MBC in 1972 and that until his death he had starred for Pamajiga radio programme for close to 48 years.

“The late Soko was not only an actor for Pamajiga but he was also a leader of Pamajiga and so the team has no leader at the moment. As MBC, we are saddened by his death,” Sumbuleta said.

Anyoni was a member of Chipembedzo Cha Makolo and during the funeral ceremony, members offered a sacrifice attracting interest from the huge audience that did not adhere to the restriction of 50 people due to Covid-19 pandemic.

During the funeral ceremony, MBC Pamajiga team also replayed some of the plays that the late Soko starred and it left some people in tears.

The late Soko died at Blantyre Adventist Hospital on Saturday night after a long illness.

He was diagnosed of a heart problem.

The veteran actor, who hailed from Mackenzie Village in Balaka is survived by four children.

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