Eric Mabedi gets Theatre Association of Malawi’s leadership
Comedian and actor Eric Mabedi, widely known as Jakobo, is now the National Theatre Association of Malawi (Ntam) president.
Member was elected president during the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Liwonde on Saturday.
Mabedi, who stars with Kwathu Drama Group and is currently the director, was elected president alongside other executive members through a popular acclaim that saw the proposed names being adopted by the assembly.
It was tense earlier before this system was adopted as members from the three regions argued and the AGM should be delayed.
But after heated discussions, the assembly converged before Ntam Board Chair Frank Patani Mwase announced the proposed new executive led by Mabedi which came up looking into the issue of equal representation in the three chapters among others.
“We wanted equal representation and a unified organisation between the three regions because this is a national association,” Mwase said before he announced the names.
Mwase admitted that there were administrative errors which created a problem but they later allowed the candidates to discuss.
“Despite having the proposed names, it was still left open to the assembly to reject or accept and the names were not automatic but there was a unanimous decision,” the veteran actor said.
Mwase said he was satisfied with the new executive and that he had belief that they will do well.
Mabedi said he has a big challenge in front of him.
“I don’t have more words to say but only thank the members for giving me a chance to lead them. But let me say it here that it is a big challenge for me and the executive. We need to put theatre back to its right place but it’s not a one- man show, I will depend on support from all the members,” Mabedi said.
The members could not hold their excitement as they chanted Zivute zitani ife a Ntam tili pambuyo pa a Mabedi. (Come whatever may, we are behind Mabedi).
He said he was very positive that the new executive will change the face of theatre.
“I have the belief in the new executive. We need to produce results and all that will happen if we work as a unit. Again, this is a voluntary job, so we will have to work tirelessly and not expect anything,” he said.
Mabedi, who announced that he will only serve one term, has taken over the mantle from Joyce Mhango Chavula, who held the position in an acting capacity starting April this year following the resignation of Manasseh Chisiza, who is currently in Germany.
Mhango Chavula, who was the vice to Chisiza before automatically assuming the leadership, announced before the AGM that she would not contest as she had a lot of work on her palms.
She, however, has been elevated to serve in the board alongside former board chairperson Smith Likongwe.
“It came as a surprise to be drafted into the board and as an artist I am always ready to serve,” said the actress, who is also the vice president of Film Association of Malawi (Fama).
The award-winning actress welcomed the new executive, adding that she was happy that the AGM went on peacefully.
“I am hoping for the best from the new executive, it’s actually not about the executive only but all the members. I also just want to appeal to the government and the corporate world to support the creative world when they knock on their doors,” Mhango Chavula said.
The other members of the executive are James Gondwe (vice president), Isaac Banda (general secretary), James Kitchen (vice general secretary), Chancy Mauluka (treasurer general), Bon Kalindo alias Winiko (publicity secretary) and Beauty Fologonya (vice publicity secretary).
Regional chairpersons from the three chapters are also part of the executive.
The AGM was supported by Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) through funding from the Royal Norwegian Embassy and an official from the Department of Culture James Thole graced the occasion.
During the AGM, members also took time to observe a minute of silence in honour of departed actors among them Jacobs Mwase, John Nyanga and Augustine Lubani.
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