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Inadequate funding still haunts Museums of Malawi

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Museums of Malawi is still haunted by lack of funding which has fractured some of its programmes.

Acting Deputy Director of Culture in the Ministry of Sports and Culture Lovemore Mazibuko said they have made progress in some of their programmes in the past six months although they still have the problem of funding which is affecting other sectors as well.

Mazibuko said they have worked hard in their programmes and have among others embarked on the project to collect the endangered traditional musical instruments from Lower Shire as part of documenting Malawi’s cultural heritage.

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He said some of the instruments collected include Bangwe and Malimba.

“Some of these musical instruments are on the verge of extinction. There is fear that if these musical instruments are not collected, documented and properly stored now, they might become extinct, resulting in loss of valuable information on Malawian culture,” said Mazibuko.

He said they intend to extend this exercise to other parts of the country in order to have a good coverage.

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According to Mazibuko, in Malawi there are six recognised geographic areas with unique musical instruments, namely Lower Shire river area, Southern Highlands, South-East, Chewa heartland (central region), Tumbuka and Ngonde/Nyakyusa area.

He also said that the past six months, the Natural History Section of the Museums of Malawi has managed to collect some animal specimens which will be mounted and exhibited at Chichiri Museum.

The animal specimens include crocodile and hyena.

“We plan to mount and exhibit these specimens during the next half of the current financial year. We are very excited that children and the general public will have the opportunity of seeing a mounted hyena at Chichiri Museum very soon,” said Mazibuko.

He said that a hyena is a special animal which occupies an important place in “our society,” and that it is featured in so many folktales, as such, it is used in imparting norms, knowledge and life skills among the youth who are usually the target of these folktales.

Mazibuko also said that the Museums of Malawi in the 21st century has gone beyond the four walls to meet communities.

He said in the programme, they have assumed the role of dealing with issues that negatively affect the people they serve and thus comes the indigenous skills development for the youth for economic empowerment.

“Under this, the Museums of Malawi is initiating weaving skills -traditional cloth making, basketry, pottery making and sculpturing etc. We want these skills to grow in our communities and at the moment some communities we have interacted with are benefiting,” said Mazibuko.

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