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Blantyre Cultural Centre still work in progress

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The once entertainment mecca, Blantyre Cultural Centre (BCC), formerly French Cultural Centre, is still in a poor state with no progress since the government bought it from the French at K300 million in 2011.

BCC, which has hosted top events as well as renowned artists both local and international, was ransacked by thieves in 2011 as it was left unprotected.

But having bought it, promises were made by the government that the venue, a home to creatives, would be put back to its proper shape.

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And now, 11 years down the line, the once busy place which has hosted names such as the late Du Chisiza Jr and Wakhumbata Ensemble Theatre, Mali’s Salif Keita and South Africa’s Rebecca Malope, is still in poor state with the Amphitheatre’s roof not rehabilitated yet.

Last year, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Michael Usi visited the venue, where he expressed disappointment with the slow progress as regards rehabilitation of the centre.

At that time, a contractor was building a fence but a visit to BCC over the weekend found that works stopped last year.

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The venue, which would have been buzzing with performances being a weekend, was quiet, with nothing to write about.

With rains, the venue is now bushy and it is as if the place has been deserted for good.

This venue would have surely managed to recover the K300 million used for its purchase if it were functional but for now, its rehabilitation is taking place at a snail’s pace and money will continue to be drained.

“This is not on. I also visited the place recently and I nearly shed tears. This place is a home for the creatives and it is even convenient. If the government is failing to run it, why not just renovate it and then give it to creatives? Let the government help us,” Film Association of Malawi Secretary General James Kitchen said Sunday.

Usi said recently that they would rehabilitate the place.

“We are handling this issue with urgency. It also pains me to see that the place is in such a condition. Artists need places for performances and this is one of them,” the minister said.

Director of Arts Humphrey Mpondaminga said last week they had a meeting on the issue of BCC and that he would shed more light later this week.

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