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Arts associations want Blantyre Cultural Centre offices

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Arts associations in the country have penned the government asking to be accommodated in some of the offices at Blantyre Cultural Centre (BCC).

A letter which The Daily Times has seen, signed by presidents of arts associations including Malawi Writers Union (Mawu), Musicians Union of Malawi, National Theatre Association of Malawi, Malawi Folkdance, Music and Song Society, Film Association of Malawi and Visual Arts Association of Malawi is calling upon Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture to consider them to occupy the facilities.

BCC, formerly French Cultural Centre has been the hub of entertainment in the country hosting a number of local and international acts before it was ransacked by thieves in 2011.

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Government bought the facility from French Embassy at K300 million.

Since then the government has been renovating the once mighty entertainment mecca through at a snail’s pace.

At the moment, some of the offices have been renovated which arts associations are lobbying to occupy.

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A brick wall is also being put up at the centre in phase three which according to a source will also involve the renovation of the manager’s house.

Mawu President Sambalikagwa Mvona confirmed yesterday that they have written a letter to the ministry as regards the offices.

“Many arts associations do not have offices at the moment, we have been lobbying for this for a long time and we have been engaging different ministers, who have been heading our ministry and we have also talked to the current minister on the same,” Mvona said.

He said BCC is a hub of entertainment and that it would be good to have the associations occupy some of the offices.

In the letter, the associations indicated that they had a meeting on March 16 2020 where they observed that the renovation exercise was almost complete and that it was important for them to occupy some of the offices.

The past years has seen arts associations operating from Claim Building in Blantyre but stopped after the Royal Norwegian Embassy stopped paying the rentals.

Director of Arts in the Department of Arts in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Humphrey Mpondaminga, referred The Daily Times to the spokesperson of the ministry, who could not be reached yesterday.

Sources in the ministry have indicated that they want to finalise everything before the place is occupied.

Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Francis Phiso, said during a presentation of awards in Blantyre during the First Capital/Mawu Awards in December last year that his ministry would be meeting arts associations to map the way forward on some of their challenges.

Phiso then also denied that the creative industry was being sidelined and indicated that the government was committed to uplift the creative industry in the country.

The creative industry in the country has been lobbying for the Arts Council in order to be receiving subvention from the government.

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