By Duncan Mlanjira
Performing artist, CODE Sangala, who manages a charity NGO named Music Against Malaria, has organised a Cultural Festival set for Saturday, October 26 at College of Medicine Sports Complex Hall in Blantyre from 6pm to midnight in aid of the children’s ward at Chikwawa District Hospital.
Veteran musician Wendham Chechamba, who makes rare public appearances will be amongst the performers that include Kasambwe Brothers, Dikamawoko Culture Troupe, Chichiri Cultural Troupe, Eunice, Goma Nyondo, J’Acoustic, Kefasi, Felix Jere and many more.
CODE said the Music Against Malaria was an idea he had nurtured whilst taking part for the second time in the glamorous reality show on DStv, the Big Brother Africa when they were asked to address social issues affecting the housemates’ countries in order to perform task assigned to them.
“I picked Malaria because I came through a near-death experience with malaria before due to negligence in not going for testing.
“I tested 4+ and it was such an eye-opening experience which turned into my passion. I decided that people need to know how dangerous malaria is.
“The idea of an NGO was hatched after making random donations to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in the recent past and during meetings wanting to know the hospital at its point of need.
“Last year, we raised K3 million for the peadiatric A&E department at Queens, funds which were used to pay out the architectural drawing to refurbish the department.
“Now we are using this a model for our operations. This year, we did the need assessment for Chikwawa District Hospital through the DHO, Stallin Dzinkanda, hence the need to raise the K19 million we are fundraising.”
Advanced tickets for the show are available at K15,000 at Jacaranda Cultural Centre, Kwaharaba, Central African, Cafe Grazia, Love Story, College of Medicine Sports Complex, Beitcure Cafe. At the door, patrons will be expected to pay K20,000.
The show is being supported by other partners such as Toyota Malawi, Total, FES, MBC, University of Malawi, Jacaranda Cultural Centre and others.
CODE’s co-founder of Music Against Malaria is Annemarie Quinn, based in UK and its board members comprise Terrie Taylor (Blantyre Malara Alert), Helen Trott (lawyer based in UK), Maziko Matemba and Noel Chalamanda as lawyers from Malawi.
“Last year, we went on a country-wide tour as part of the fundraiser for Queens and after drawing lessons from it we came up with the idea of the Music Against Malaria Cultural Festival as an official drive of our fundraising campaign for children’s hospital wards with primary focus on Malaria.
“Our country-wide tour was dubbed ‘The Malaria Tour’ before we graduated into organizing this festival.”
“The focus this year is, of course, on the children‘s ward at Chikwawa District Hospital.”
He explained that the needs assessment exercise they did at Chikwawa identified several inadequacies the hospital is facing such as lack of equipment for its effective operations.
“A K19 million budget was drawn and so far we have raised K9 million, which is not a bad effort but we are looking for more.
“Thanks go to Total Malawi, Toyota Malawi, Farming Engineering Services for their generous donations. And recently we received US$5,000 from filmmaker Lara Lee from Brazil, who will be filming the festival.
“We are also in partnership with MBC, College of Medicine and PSI Malawi, who have endorsed the initiative.
“From the needs assessment, a list of deliverables was made which include all the necessary equipment the hospital needs such oxygen tanks, Electric Suction Machines, IV drip stand and many more.
“We value accountability as our core values and that is what we have already started purchasing some of the equipment from local supplier, Thofu Investiments.”
CODE is a cultural coordinator for Chichiri Cultural Heritage, a dance ensemble based at the Museum of Malawi and he is also executive producer of Sounds of Malawi at Jacaranda Cultural Center.