Develop and promote creative industries (National Cultural policy Priority 2, Objective 2): Establishment of Malawi cultural festival
The Malawi Cultural Festival (MaCFest) is an initiative of the Government of Malawi through the Department of Culture in the Ministry of Tourism and Culture with the goal to revitalize the cultural life of Malawi. The inaugural festival was held from 22nd to 23rd September, 2012 at Crossroads Hotel and CIVO stadium in Lilongwe. The festival is earmarked to be taking place annually around the United Nations International Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development , thus 21st May.
MaCFest has the following key objectives:
3.1 To support the diversity of arts and artists;
3.2 To offer artists a regular and affordable opportunity to sell their works;
3.3 To promote cultural industries;
3.4 To promote cultural heritage;
3.5 To offer corporations an opportunity to market their creative products; and
3.6 To build a sense of national pride and unity for Malawians
The festival is implemented jointly by Government, through the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, and the civil society. Organization and administration of the festival is done at two main levels, the Central Office and the National Artistic and Cultural Events Organizing Committee. The Central office is mainly responsible for facilitating administrative requirements for the festival. It is headed by the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. The National Artistic and Cultural Events Organizing Committee comprises Government officers responsible for various artistic and cultural disciplines, civil society experts, leaders of artistic associations, corporations and volunteers.
FUNCTIONS OF THE NATIONAL ARTISTIC AND CULTRURAL EVENTS ORGANIZING COMMITTEE
This committee is responsible for directing and managing the preparations and implementation of the festival activities. The activities are divided into festival categories and each is managed by a sub-committee. The committees include:
a. Festival Publicity Committee: Responsible for designing and implementing festival publicity campaign
b. Festival Resource Mobilization Committee: Responsible for mobilizing both financial and technical resources for the festival
c. Festival Production teams: These are committees responsible for facilitating preparations in various artistic activities. They include:
- Theatre and Film Production team
- Music and Dance Production team
- Visual Arts Production team
- Traditional Cuisine Production team
- Fashion Production team
- Literary Arts Production team
- Workshop Production team
Challenges identified in the implementation of this measure:
1. Sustainable availability of financial resources
The festival does not have sustainable means of obtaining financial resources. This has affected plans to hold the festival annually.
- It created a market for some artists. There were some visual artists that managed to get lucrative deals after their works were spotted at the festival. For instance Mr. Moment Chaweza was commissioned by the National AIDS Commission (NAC) to produce three artworks related to HIV/AIDS worth about MK500,000 ($1,200) and; Matthews Chikapa received orders worth around MK800, 000 ($1,860)to produce cane furniture.
- It offered an opportunity for companies to sell their products: For example the Coca-Cola Company initially planned to have patrons sample out its products and eventually they were sold out to the patrons. On the social front, the Malawi Blood Transfusion Services (MBTS) took advantage of the festival to mobilise people to donate blood for use in various hospitals. They managed to collect 21 units (1unit = 450mls) totaling to 9450mls. On average this can save a minimum of 25 lives. Coca-Cola also gave some branded materials to all blood donors as a token of appreciation for their generosity.
- Source of income for artists. The festival hired a number of performing groups that were paid handsomely for their performances at the festival. This therefore provided income for the artists. The total amount of money disbursed to performing groups was MK9,113,000 ($21,193.00).