By Duncan Mlanjira
Jacaranda Foundation is maintaining the 32-year old the national French drama and in March 2020, six secondary schools from the three regions are expected to showcase their talent in creativity coupled with French language articulation.
The six schools qualified through regional finals held last Saturday under the theme ‘Climate Change’, and they are Zomba Catholic and Jacaranda from the Southern Region, Marymount and Kaseghe from the North, Likuni Boys and Robert Blake from the Centre, who came first and second respectively.
The other regional contestants were Mulunguzi, Joyce Banda Foundation and Malosa from the South, Dzaleka, Kasungu, Good Shepherd, Darlo and Chipasula Private from the Centre, Katoto and Euthini from the North.
The judges were Dr. Maxwell Chilembwe from Chancellor College, McArthur Matukuta and Victor Mwakanema from Malawi Institute of Education for the South, Gibson Chisale and Kadzakalowa (both from Mzuni) and Fwasani Gondwe from Phwezi, Gibson Chisale, Willy Kalombo for the North.
The judges for the Centre were Chancy Mauluka, Joseph Chisala and Peter Manifold.
Victor Mwakanema, who was the chief judge for the South for the regional finals at Zingwangwa Secondary School applauded the participants for excellent productions, saying the creativity, language articulation, costume props use and its relationship to the theme Climate Change surpassed the level displayed during last year’s national finals.
“And this was just the regional finals and we should expect even better performance for the national finals because the schools will definitely polish up where they had shortfalls.
“We were also very impressed with their enthusiasm, passion for theatre coupled with their love of the French language,” he said.
The French drama festival was initiated by the French embassy in 1983 but there was a break of four years in the transition when the embassy closed office in Malawi but resumed after Luc Deschamps was appointed honorary consular for the France.
Deschamps assists in matters to do with France and he also runs the Jacaranda Foundation, that has a secondary school for underprivileged kids.
Deschamps applauded all schools for keeping up the 32-year’s tradition, whose grand finals was always held at the famous Mecca for drama, the French Cultural Centre (FCC), now renamed Chichiri Cultural Heritage.
“I must congratulate the schools for keeping the long traditional alive. I enjoyed the high level of theatre, excellent performance, good language and creativity coupled with modern twists in story telling.”
Zomba Catholics French drama group patron, Thokozani Mcherewatha said they will definitely polish up some shortfalls he observed in readiness of the national finals to be held in Blantyre in March.
“We have a very vibrant French Club as an extracurricular activity where we regularly meet to encourage each other on language articulation and creativity.
“We also make frequent visits to other schools that teach French where they interact in French as a way of motivating the students,” Mcherewatha said.
Deschamps Jacaranda Foundation, which operates free primary and secondary schools for over 400 orphaned learners in Newlands, Chigumula has an outreach programme to provide library facilities for interested schools across Blantyre City and outside of it and so far it has reached out to over 15 schools.