Zathu pa Wailesi utilises drama, music


By Sam Banda Jnr:

GONDWE—We are excited about the direction we
are taking

Girl Effect Senior Manager (Partnerships and Communications) Zilanie Gondwe has said music and storytelling are powerful ways of giving information and inspiring messages to young people.

Gondwe said young people are deeply involved in the creation of music and stories of Zathu pa Wailesi and that this was relatable.


“As Zathu enters its third year and the fifth season, the characters of Zathu are being seen as role models and as reflections on the issues that teenagers in Malawi are dealing with,” Gondwe said.

Girl Effect is a creative non-governmental organisation that uses media platforms such as music and radio to confront real-life issues for girls and enable them to reach their full potential, which in turn can help break the poverty cycle.

“Zathu believes in the power of platonic friendship that it can unite boys and girls to respect, understand and support each other in good and challenging times. It is important that young people have confidence and self-esteem to speak up for themselves and to know that their opinion is valued,” she said.


Gondwe said since they launched Zathu pa Wailesi which has introduced a new character, Jijo, in season five, the fans and listenership has increased.

“Our last survey had 2.6 million regular listeners. We expanded Zathu crew into new districts to make a total of 18 at the end of 2018 and their work with youth clubs plus the new Zathu magazine increased the popularity of Zathu,” she said.

Gondwe said, due to demand at district level, some community radio stations will be airing Zathu pa Wailesi in season five.

“This is exciting for us because young people have demonstrated this desire and the community sees the value of the show,” she said.

Girl Effect is part of the Dreams (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, Aids-free, Mentored, and Safe) partnership with Pepfar, which focuses on reducing cases of HIV infection in adolescent girls and young women across 15 African countries, including Malawi.

This partnership led to the development of the Zathu brand in 2017.

The Zathu brand comprises a radio show Zathu pa Wailesi (radio drama and talk show), Zathu magazine, music and music videos from Zathu Band and a youth clubs’ network across the country.

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