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French govt commits to support culture

PERFECT NIGHT (from left to right)—Keturah, Mtepa, Agorosso perform

Lechevallier decorates Sangala

French Ambassador to Malawi, Lesotho and South Africa, Aurelien Lechevallier, said on Wednesday they were determined to support cultural fields in the country promising a number of exchange programmes for artists.

Lechevallier made the remarks during a celebration and welcoming ceremony of the ambassador at Jacaranda Cultural Centre (JCC) in Blantyre which was spiced up by a cocktail and music performances from Keturah and Agorosso, who also collaborated in one of the songs ‘Korokoto’ alongside Joyce Mtepa.

“We are planning to develop Jacaranda Cultural Centre. We are also ready to discuss and talk with the government of Malawi to see if we could have even more French presence in the cultural fields in Malawi,” he said.

The French Ambassador said they were looking at different projects with first and foremost promoting the learning of French language.

“Professors, teachers and other players will be going to France to be trained and then come back and train new teachers in French,” Lechevallier said.

He said they would also be looking at raising profiles of artists by working with artistic managers in France to invite more artists including singers and performers from Malawi to tour different festivals in France.

“This is something we would like to see because we have this long lasting tie between Malawi and France and so, we want to use JCC as a platform like tonight for more engagements between artists and so, there will be a series of events targeting design, fashion, movies and production,” the French Ambassador said.

He said he was impressed with the performances of Keturah and Agorosso and further adding that the few days he had been in the country, he has seen amazing talent from children and young artists singing and creating works.

“There is a lot of richness of culture as a drive for the nation and also to be part of the African stage and this talent needs support,” Lechevallier said.

During the event the French Ambassador conferred former Minister of Defence and legislator Aaron Sangala with the Chevelier de L’order National du Merite ( National Order of Merit) for his incredible work having worked at the French Embassy for a longtime and then French Cultural Centre.

Sangala described the award as special and among others dedicated it to his family.

He said the French presence in Malawi was crucial in that they were the ones that have helped in making the country value its culture.

“If truth be told, the French are the ones who made us realise the value of culture, our own culture though we take it for granted,” Sangala said.

French Honorary Consul to Malawi Luc Deschamps said it was amazing to hear the ambassador put much focus on culture.

“This was a celebrating and welcoming ceremony for the new ambassador and this is his first mission to Malawi. goal was to introduce him to the country and to Blantyre,” Deschamps said.

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