The K902 billion national budget is on the table. As usual, this time around there is no critical debate on this budget. I recall some years back, when one would take keen interest to follow the debate in the August house. I recall that time as an artist; I would be glued to listen to the radio.
But Alas, this time around I wonder how many of our artists are following the session. I wonder how many have any idea that the 2015/16 budget is faced with a major challenge that of lacking budgetary supports from the traditional development partners.
The truth of the matter is that as a nation we need to move the creative industries agenda this time around with much optimism. We should see the creative industries as a vibrant economic force that we can invest in and benefit as a nation. I am looking at the free trade zone scenerio but alas! Can our general products compete at the regional or continental market? Can we cause havoc on the market like the Chinese have done before our very own eyes and backyard? Can we have products that will ably shine and bring the much needed forex? Can we as a nation turn tables overnight and become a force on the global market arena? Are we set to have our priorities right and forget or even bury our political differences? Can we at this moment in time please, forget about taking the people for a ride with our political rhetoric!
We need to be a producing nation. A nation that is exporting goods and services as opposed to import almost everything including toothpicks!
The creative industries offer rare products in the country. Yeah, countryfolks. Listen to me. We can export lots of products from the Warm Heart of Africa, Malawi.
Have you been to Kungoni in Mua, Dedza? Have you ever seen such talent and products that can be produced all over the country to meet the demand at the global markets? Have we critically looked at the arts and crafts sector of the nation with a vision of prosperity? Countryfolks, one just needs to visit this place and of course to see Father Chagomelana Chisale Claude Boucher smiling at you. Yeah, countryfolks as he smiles looking at you, maybe you will notice that we are still in slumber.
These are just a few of the so many products around us in the creative industries.
Talk of our traditional cultural systems. Talk of the fine and performing arts as a vibrant economic force.
I know that the debate on the true or authentic Malawian music is still being discussed but this should not waste our time. Whether we call Chibade’s or Joe Gwaladi’s music a true reflection of Malawian music, let it be. Whether we call Gwamba’s ‘Ineyo walero,’ music as a true reflection of Malawian music let it be! Whether we call the music of Lawi with his ‘Amaona kuchedwa,’ masterpiece a true reflection of Malawian music, let it be! Whether we call Soldier Lucius Banda and his Zembani Band music a true reflection of Malawian music let it be! Whether we call Mtebeti Wambali’s music a true reflection of Malawian music let it be! The bottom line is, are we able to export this music? Can we put our our energy in investing in this music and market it properly.
Countryfolks, I have a lot of questions. Ironically, there seems to be no solution or answers. Yeah, countryfolks, you heard me right. The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning and Development should one day read this out in the August house as he tries to search for the cash to meet his budget around this Warm Heart of Africa, Malawi. Countryfolks, open your eyes wide.
Chati chubwi, chaopsya mlenje!
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