Entertainment

Music for a cause

As Toyota Malawi pumps in K5 million

Music is supposed to offer entertainment. Music is food for the soul and it brings hope where there is none.

Music is a powerful vehicle for connecting with the masses in terms of informat ion dissemination.

It is in this vein that musician Code Sangala, who is also former Big Brother Africa (BBA) representative for malawi decided to partner with United Kingdom singer and guitarist Annemarie Quinn, who is based in the country, to use music for a cause and, in this case, to fight against malaria.

Malaria is one of the diseases which continues to claim lots of lives particularly in Africa.

Code said at one-time, he suffered from malaria and nearly died and, since then he decided to use music to fight the disease.

The two artists have been holding performances to raise funds to support hospitals with a focus on the pediatric ward.

They started with Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre and now they are working on furnishing Chikwawa District Hospital with equipment and they are looking for K19 million.

In order to raise the K19 million, the two artists with support from other artists, have been moving around using music and they at some point went to schools such as St Andrews in Blantyre where they raised some money.

On June 29 2019, Music Against Malaria in partnership with Art Malawi and Jacaranda Cultural Centre also came out with the Malaria Stories Art Exhibition. The exhibition was part of raising awareness and funds for Chikwawa District Hospital’s Pediatric A&E ward whilst promoting Malawi’s cultural heritage through Malawian art works.

But the journey to raise funds for Chikwawa District Hospital continues. Although there is resistance in terms of opening up to some of them by other corporates, Code, said things are changing as others have started responding.

He hailed players such as Total Malawi, Farming and Engineering Services and HTD, who have supported them having held the sound from Music Against Malaria.

This sound for a cause has not eluded Toyota Malawi which on Wednesday decided to join others in the fight against malaria.

The music for a cause was too loud to ignore such that its objectives captured Toyota’s attention to drop a cheque of K5 million to Music Against Malaria.

“This initiative is not only about raising funds to fight malaria but also using music to raise awareness on malaria. We are using music to promote doable actions for prevention of malaria. We are also using music to offer a platform for communities to reflect on malaria,” Code said.

Toyota Malawi General Manager – Corporate Affairs, Andrew Katimba, said they got a proposal from Music Against Malaria and that they were impressed by their proposal.

“This is a fairly new non-governmental organisation and their proposal in terms of objectives was in line with our corporate social responsibility,” Katimba said.

He said as Toyota Malawi they also focus much on health, education and reforestation.

“On health, we are focusing on pediatric and Music Against Malaria is refurbishing Chikwawa District Hospital pediatric ward and equip it, so we decided to come in,” he said.

Katimba said this the first time they are doing such a project with Music Against Malaria and that they would want to try for now and that it is works, they would continue working with them in future.

Asked if they were preparing to do more projects in the arts, Katimba, said they support the arts and love the arts, but in this scenario, they were attracted to the objectives of the project.

“This year the economy has been looking up but we are not doing badly but in terms of corporate social responsibility, we do it regardless of the business landscape,” Katimba said.

Code said they were energized with the support from Toyota Malawi and others.

“As Music Against Malaria, we started about a year ago, we have sometimes got a little bit of resistance but now it seems the corporate world is coming out,” the former Kapirintiya member, said.

The host of the Sounds of Malawi Acoustic Session, said they have always strived to be accountable in all the transactions.

“What happens is that the money which we receive from different players, does not come straight to us but goes straight to purchases,” Code said.

The musician, who is currently working on a new album said out of the total budget of K19 million, they have managed to collect close to K5.5 million.

“So we still have a long way to hit the total budget. We still call upon the corporate world to assist us,” he said.

The donation that Music Against Malaria received from Toyota Malawi on Wednesday comes barely a month as the organization also looks forward to holding the Music Against Malaria Festival in Blantyre on October 26 2019.

“We have the Music Against Malaria coming up on October 26 but details will come later. This festival is part of bringing awareness to the people about malaria and it is also all about promoting and preserving authentic Malawian music apart from addressing the issues to do with health,” Code said.

Code said he realised that music is a strong weapon which is key in the fight against malaria.

Today the initiative, which last year saw Code and Annemarie hosting different shows to raise funds to rehabilitate the children’s ward at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, has been expanded into a Non-Government Organisation (NGO).

Key facts from World Health Organisation (WHO) puts it clearly that malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.

The disease is preventable and curable but dangerous and because it is given little attention with little or inadequate resources in hospitals, it has ended up claiming lots of lives including children.

According to WHO, in 2017, there were an estimated 219 million cases of malaria in 87 countries and that the estimated number of malaria deaths stood at 435 000 in 2017.

The WHO African Region, according to WHO, carries a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden and that in 2017, the region was home to 92 percent of malaria cases and 93 percent of malaria deaths.

And Code commits himself to say that Music Against Malaria will continue to use art with music on the forefront to drive campaigns as well as raise funds to refurbish pediatric accidents and emergency departments of district hospitals in the country.

“Our mission is to contribute towards the improvement of the health sector in Malawi. We seek to bridge the gap between the government intervention and the donor community on health issues,” Code said.

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