Arts associations struggle to hold AGMs
Almost all arts associations in the country have failed to hold Annual General Meetings (AGMs) due to financial challenges.
The latest association which has failed to hold its AGM is Film Association of Malawi (Fama).
This was revealed over the weekend during a gathering of filmmakers, actors and other players in the film industry at Crown Hotel in Lilongwe.
Other associations which have failed to hold their AGMs so far to among others, discuss various issues and hold elections include National Theatre Association of Malawi (Ntam) and Visual Arts Association of Malawi (Vaam).
The term of office for National Executive Committee (Nec) for Vaam expired mid last year but the association has failed to raise K3 million to hold the gathering and it is the same with Ntam which has indicated it will hold its elections this year.
Fama President, Ezaius Mkandawire, confirmed Sunday that their term expired and that they should be holding the elections this year.
He described the gathering, which was organised by a taskforce which has members such as Ashukile Mwakisulu, Isaac Misoya, Jevas Mchitakupha and Ian Chitsekula as fruitful and that a lot of issues were discussed.
The meeting’s agenda was ‘What should be done to make the Malawi film industry move forward’.
“It was a very good gathering. It is true that our term expired and we are yet to hold our Annual General Meeting. Many arts associations have not done so because of lack of funds. In the past years, we used to rely on the Cultural Support Scheme but since it phased out we have struggled to fund ourselves,” Mkandawire said.
He, however, was quick to say that this year they were geared to hold the AGM and that this would not be a problem.
Chitsekula also said the meeting was an eye-opener and that a lot of issues were discussed.
“For instance, it was discovered that there are no members in Film Association of Malawi. Only the executive has been operative. But it is good now that new members of about 250 have expressed interest to affiliate to the association,” he said.
Chitsekula, a former Ntam president, also said that a taskforce will be elected to work with Fama up until the elections are held.
Last week another member, Mwakisulu, said players in the industry were tired of moving in circles and that they wanted things to change in the creative industry.
“We want things to change so that film business becomes a profitable career like in other countries. Again, we are looking at getting support from the government as is the case in other countries as well as the corporate world,” Mwakisulu said.
In the absence of the Arts Council, whose bill is still undergoing consultations before taking it to Parliament, the creative industry does not receive any subvention from the government with many arts associations relying heavily on donor support.