Jacaranda breaks jinx in rench Drama competition


After toiling for five years without getting any result, Jacaranda School for Orphans Secondary School on Saturday finally got it right as they were crowned 2017 French Schools Drama Festival champions.
Held at Bangwe Secondary School in Blantyre, the Chigumula-based school made sure the trophy remained in the Southern Region, when it outclassed six other finalists during the national finals of the 30th edition of the French Schools Drama Festival.
It was all joy in the packed hall for Jacaranda, who went into ecstasy, invading the stage to receive the big trophy soon after Chief Judge Timwa Lipenga announced that they were the winners.
“We didn’t see this coming; it was tough because all the schools worked hard. For years, we have tried, with no positive results. Finally, we got it right,” Joseph Nkhoma, one of the teachers at the school, said.
He said that they will not let the victory get into their heads, but work hard to defend it next year.
Jacaranda won with their play Le Conflit d’inte’rests.
The school also produced the Best Supporting Actor in Pemphero Chiwaya, who received books.
As winners, Jacaranda received a glittering trophy, books, medals and school bags and the French teacher at the school is expected to travel to Zimbabwe.
While it was tears of joy for Jacaranda, which, in the past, even failed to make it to the top three, it was tears of pain for schools such as Marymount Girls, Likuni Boys and Phwezi Girls, who were closer and yet so far.
Marymount from Mzuzu made sure they got something for the Northern Region when they came second with their play L’Appearance Trompe. They received a small trophy, books, bags, among other things.
Likuni Boys Secondary School from Lilongwe, who represented the Central Region, came third with Phwezi Girls from the Northern Region coming fourth.
Lilongwe Girls, representing the Central Region, came fifth, Police Secondary School from Zomba in the Southern region was sixth while Darlo Private Secondary School from the Central Region came last.
In terms of individual categories, 13-year-old Form Two student, Mike Sitolo of Likuni Boys Secondary School, was the toast of the day when he scooped two awards – Second Best Male French Speaker and Best Actor.
Sitolo impressed the judges with his acting skills as well as French speaking and he even stunned the audience as he played a female role.
“I didn’t expect to get the two awards. I will continue acting because it’s fun and, through this competition, I have improved my French speaking,” Sitolo, who dreams of becoming a lawyer, said.
As the Second Best Male French Speaker, Sitolo received books while, as the Best Actor, he carted home a bicycle and books.
The Best Actress was Nomsa Zgambo from Marymount, who received books and a bicycle.
The Best French Speaker (Male) went to Amos Galeta from Police Secondary School, who also received a bicycle and books, while the Best French Speaker (Female) went to Temwani Gumbo from Phwezi Girls, who also got a bicycle and books.
The competition is sponsored by Jacaranda Foundation in partnership with Total Malawi, Mzuzu University and French Embassy.
Total Malawi Limited Managing Director, Aegidia Schnepp, said she was satisfied with the results as well as performances of the schools.
“It was great; a lot of energy and commitment from the students. We are satisfied with the results and the level of French spoken by the students,” Schnepp said.
She said, as a French company, they will continue to be part of the competition and pledged more support.
Jacaranda Foundation Executive Director, Luc Deschamps, who is also French Honorary Consul to Malawi, said the level of competition was improving every year.
“It was a great success, the level of competition is improving every year and we are very pleased with the schools that participated in the grand finale. The plays tackled several issues, including corruption, and we saw great talent,” Deschamps said.
Despite the schools showing flashes of talent, some of the plays on the day lacked depth and, in some cases, there was too much overuse of choruses and flashbacks.
The schools also did not do enough research as per the theme Tout ce qui brille n’est pas, meaning All that glitters is not gold.

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