Renowned University of Malawi playwright and drama lecturer Smith Likongwe has called on members of Kwathu Drama Group to preserve Eric Mabedi’s legacy by publishing his works.
Mabedi, one of the oldest members of Kwathu Drama Group alongside another veteran actor Charles Mphoka, have been frontrunners crafting productions but many have not been documented.
Likongwe, who has documented plays from Southern Africa publishing books such as said Kwathu should collect all the plays and aim at publishing the works for posterity.
He also revealed that he met Mabedi in March this year when he was launching his book where they discussed the issue.
“Eric Mabedi was very interested in publishing and we made headway as regards preserving the works of Kwathu. He actually assured me that he would collect plays for himself and Charles Mphoka. I was going to assist him realise this,” Likongwe said.
The dramatist said Kwathu needs to endeavour to look at the works of Mabedi, bring them together and publish.
“In the country we do not publish and this has left a very big gap in terms of documentation. We are reading the works of William Shakespeare today because his friends published his works and, if they had not, we could not have been talking of all these plays such as Macbeth,” he said.
Likongwe said if it pleases Kwathu to embark on this project, he was ready to help them publish.
“This is for posterity so that future generations know there was Eric Mabedi,” he said.
Likongwe described Mabedi as a giant of theatre and that his works need to be documented and even be read in schools.
“Eric Mabedi was very creative and a humble personality who was a very good leader. Kwathu Drama Group would not have developed to where it is today without his good leadership,” he said.
Mphoka admitted during Mabedi’s requiem mass at Catholic Institute (CI) in Blantyre before his burial that Mabedi was a force for the group.
“I am not sure how we will move from here; he was everything for Kwathu and now the future looks bleak,” he said before breaking down into tears.
Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Michael Usi also said Mabedi was no ordinary person in theatre and that, as a devout Catholic, he used his talent to serve the Church.
A priest also attested during mass that Mabedi served the church and that, with his talent, he fundraised for various projects.
Mabedi died on Monday at Mwaiwathu Private Hospital in Blantyre and was laid to rest at CI Cemetery on Tuesday.
Popularly known as Jakobo, his last performance with Kwathu was on Independence Day at Blantyre Cultural Centre starring in the play titled Ana Akumpanda written by Mphoka.