A K20 million financial assistance package for artists in the country’s entertainment industry was unveiled by the Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with the Malawian Gaming Board and the Ministers of Tourism, Culture, and Wildlife. The funds will be used to support a national sensitization campaign against Covid-19, which was unveiled by Michael Usi.
The announcement comes only a week after Chisomo Mdalla, also known as Nyamalikiti Nthiwatiwa, President of the Poetry Association of Malawi (Pam), expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of support for the creative industry. Artists and event organizers are suffering as a result of a Covid-19 legislation that prohibits gatherings of more than 50 individuals, which has had a negative impact on the entertainment industry. The artists, in particular, have been confined to their houses since they depend on social events for their livelihood. At the reveal, Michael stated that the Malawi Gaming Board (MGB) is championing the whole project, which will take place in mid-April at the Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.
Furthermore, he acknowledged that the arts, as well as creative and leisure areas, were among the industries that were most adversely impacted by the epidemic. “In an attempt to stem the spread of the virus, the competent authorities implemented preventative measures as part of public health laws and a response plan,” the statement said. The measures, on the other hand, have had a significant impact on activity in the arts and creative sectors,” the ministers said. It was also said that, due to the prompt efforts of the Malawi Gaming Board (MGB), in collaboration with the Ministry, a fund has been established to assist chosen local performing artists who have been adversely affected by Covid-19. “In recognition of the fact that artists represent one sector that has been affected the most, we have coined the phrase ‘Artists Against Covid’ week, which will be observed at the end of April.”
“The chosen artists will play an important part in the spread of Covid-19 messaging in exchange for a small salary during this period,” Usi said.
In his remarks, the Minister expressed his delight in announcing K20 million in funding to support musicians in their efforts to raise awareness about Covid-19 across the country.
As Usi said, “My ministerial department will work with the Ministry of Health and other stakeholder ministries to provide artists with guidance on current problems that need to be made more aware.”
The Ministry of Culture is well aware that other areas of the arts have been adversely impacted. We are thus putting together the details of a relief package for professionals in various areas, including the visual arts, he said, adding that a joint taskforce comprised of representatives from the MGB, artists, and the Ministry has been established to carry out the process.
Those who will assist artists through the application process for the grant. Eventually, the task group will complete its work and the initiative will be made available for applications to be submitted. The Minister acknowledged that the package was modest in size, but that this was just the beginning. In the meanwhile, it has praised MGB for its collaboration in mitigating the harmful effect of Covid-19 on their companies and general well-being. This is not the first time that MGB has provided assistance to the creative industry; last year, the money was distributed to the Artist Welfare Fund, which was published by E-play Africa media, among other organizations.
Mirriam Kumbuyo, MGB’s Licensing Manager and Public Relations Officer, said that the company values the arts and is supporting it in a new way this time.