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Malawi Folk Dance in empowerment drive

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James Kitchen

In an effort aimed to empower artists in the country, Malawi Folk Dance Music and Songs Society (MFDMSS) will next month launch what it calls Beauty Fologonya Arts Production Centre in Blantyre.

According to the association, the centre has been named in honour of its vice president, who is a Blantyre- based artist.

The association, which promotes folk, music and dance, further says Fologonya is a role model and entrepreneur who has supported many artists in the country and contributed a lot to the growth of arts and culture.

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“Despite being an artist, she has small business enterprises and she uses them to support her art and other artists. This is what made us to appreciate her hard work. She is now matron of this initiative and she is going to work with us by giving guidance,” MFDMSS President James Kitchen, said.

Kitchen, who also holds positions in other associations such as Film Association of Malawi (Fama), said this is part of an initiative aimed at establishing MFDMSS animal and crop farming production centres across the country.

“The idea is to empower MFDMSS members and train them into entrepreneurs, with a focus on smaller businesses and arts and culture management,” he said.

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Kitchen said through the initiative, they also want to establish artists and cultural cooperatives in all regions where their members and heritage partners are based.

“The initiative also aims at promoting social entrepreneurship and resource mobilisation among artists,” he said.

Kitchen said the initiative came after noticing challenges artists are facing.

“Most artists don’t have any means of resource mobilisation to sustain their lives and cultural groups. If they have not been hired to perform then it means they will not sustain themselves,” the MFDMSS leader said.

He said through the initiative, every year they will be giving their paid up members two goats and pigs per group venture into farming, which will support them as a group.

“After some time, each member of that group shall also have his or her own animal kraal which will improve his or her life,” Kitchen said.

Fologonya said she was honoured that the initiative has been named after her.

“This is not all to do with me being the vice president of the association but this is all about empowering artists. We have all what it takes to engage in other businesses while supporting our talents to grow. I am an entrepreneur and I know how all this works and so, we are looking at doing animal farming which is also part of culture,” she said.

T h e launch of the initiative will take place on December 8 2021 at Nasiyaya Village, Traditional Authority Somba in Blantyre.

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