Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture Michael Usi has assured the creative industry that he will try his level best to uplift the sector.
Usi pledged this at Molere in Thyolo District during the funeral ceremony of actor Evans Mbewe.
“Things will change in arts. I will try my level best. What pains me most is that we have artists, who are popular and have entertained the country but when they get sick they get nothing in terms of support. But when they die, the government is the first to come out and speak well about the artist,” he said.
“When I got into office, I asked if anyone knew about Evans Mbewe’s illness but no-one knew about it and yet he entertained the nation. My call to artists in the country is that let us love one another,” he said.
The minister also said his door was open for artists and to discuss issues aimed at uplifting the industry.
“We were all given different works, so, as artists don’t be embarrassed with your talent, when I was getting out of the car, some people were saying Manganya, Manganya but that is my name. I am an artist and I am happy about it,” he said.
He said it was high time things changed in the industry and that artists became a blessing to their fans and at the same time live a good life themselves.
“President Lazarus Chakwera and his Vice Saulos Chilima would want the creative sector to grow and they have offered their support,” Usi said.
Kwathu Drama Group Director Eric Mabedi hailed Usi for his presence during the burial of Mbewe.
“ He was a talented artist, who even managed to get into a cast when Kwathu Drama Group then, had a star studded actors such as John Nyanga, Christopher Chiwalo, Jack Phiri, myself, Charles Mphoka, Felix Mashonga and Esther Jekete. This man was very good,” Mabedi said.
The Kwathu leader broke down into tears during his speech.
Linda Chatha said Mbewe’s talent will never be replaced.
“Most of the times we played together and he used to be my brother, granny or husband. I am at a loss because Kwathu has lost a lot of talented actors such as GPM, Phiri, Nyanga (Izeki) and Jekete, who taught me this trade,” Chatha said.
Charles Mphoka, another veteran actor, said Kwathu has lost a reliable actor.
“It’s not easy to replace such a talent. He is someone who we could just connect in a play without rehearsals at times because he was sharp,” Mphoka said.
Ntam Board member Timothy Chikoja also said Mbewe was one of the key actors in Kwathu and that the country has lost a good actor.
Mbewe died on Saturday morning at his home after a long illness. He was diabetic and also suffered stroke.
Born on March 14 1970, he was laid to rest on Sunday where scores of people attended the burial ceremony.
Apart from performing with Kwathu Drama Group, the late Mbewe also starred with Tikuferanji soap alongside the minister.