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I will not contest for president—Chavula

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Actress Joyce Mhango- Chavula has revealed that she will not contest for the presidency of the National Theatre Association of Malawi (Ntam) ahead of the elections scheduled for November this year.

The award winning actress, whose movie Lilongwe triumphed in the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCAs) is currently Ntam acting president following the resignation of Manasseh Chisiza in April.

Chisiza, resigned from the position saying he could not manage as he currently stays in Germany.

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Mhango-Chavula was elected Ntam Vice President and with Chisiza’s resignation, she automatically took over the presidency in the acting capacity.

“It’s been ok acting as president. The executive has been very supportive and now I am looking forward to the elections,” she said.

The actress, who is also Film Association of Malawi (Fama) Vice President however, said she will not be contesting for the hot seat.

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“I will not be contesting as president. I just want to be a member and I believe I can still be useful outside the executive,” Mhango-Chavula said.

She said she has a lot on her plate already and a series of projects lined up in and outside the country.

“This position needs a lot of commitment. There is a lot that needs to be done in Ntam in order to turn things around and that requires someone who will be there all the time,” she said.

Mhango Chavula then called upon women in the theatre industry to believe in themselves and take up top positions in the executive.

“I just hope some women will do so. If it be a man who takes the presidency let it be someone who will understand that women are as important and are partners,” the No More Tears filmmaker said.

She said they had agreed as Ntam during planning meeting to hold the elections in November.

Apart from the position of president, the other positions to be contested for are vice president, general secretary, vice general secretary, treasurer, publicity secretary, vice publicity secretary and one committee member.

But has Ntam made progress?

“We have made some progress although I would say we still need to do more for theatre to take back its position. We have managed to put in place a Women’s Desk which was not there and all this is to give a chance to women to come out and show their skills,” Mhango-Chavula said.

She also said that Ntam, National Library Service and Unesco, have partnered to work on the story-telling project as part of helping promoting reading culture.

“We have also had projects with Department of Arts and apart from that we also launched an annual cultural gathering day in the Central Chapter and we are also looking at moving to other chapters,” the actress said.

On the challenges, Mhango Chavula zeroed in on the association operating without adequate resources.

“Our main challenge has been limited funds and resources to carry out some planned activities but aside that there has been lack of theatre performances in the country as most groups have not been active due to lack of resources to hold shows.

And true to her words, several drama groups in the country have been grounded with many saying they have lots of plays to show but they do not have money.

“The corporate world has to help us as well as the government by utilising us in their different projects. Some of us have written proposals seeking for funding but we have received no feedback,” Shadreck Jumaina of Upile Drama Group said recently.

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