NEWS | ENTERTAINMENT | MUSIC | EVENTS
- Covid 19 bites the entertainment industry hard
By Franco Mwachande Jnr
Hapless! With the flapping of Covid-19 cases registered on a daily basis in Malawi, the entertainment industry has been hit by double jeopardy.
Specifically, restrictions on public gathering, has left many performing artists to rely on benevolence of others to survive as their biggest revenue generator was live concerts (which were unfortunately banned).
From Disk Jockeys to musicians and comedians alike, Covid_19 has really bitten hard those who entirely earned their bread via public performances.
Celebrated DJ, Wayne, (Iwayne Kamphulusa) says the tides are very rough for him and his fellow professionals in the industry.
Wayne says the restriction of public gatherings (amid Covid 19 pandemic) has really forsaken their income generation as the majority of their work is public related.
“It’s crazy we don’t know when we’re going to fully bounce back in the industry. Right now, the struggle is real and it’s hard to survive.” Worried he.
Wayne admired some artist federations across the globe like South Africa where (according to him) their government is giving out some financial assistance to artists to cushion the Covid 19 side effects. Wayne believes such a bailout could have meant a lot to local entertainers here (Malawi).
“No bailouts in Malawi, nothing of that nature to the entertainment industry. The sad part is that people always want to be entertained but at the end of the day, won’t appreciate it. It’s like now we don’t exist, and everybody is acting as if our services aren’t that relevant,” he cried.
He adds: The problem we have is that our local TVs don’t give us a platform to perform but if you look at it, we are the pioneers of the entertainment in Malawi. We could’ve been recognized, say, having some airtime on local TV channels where we could be showcasing our skills.”
Dancehall reggae don, Provoice concurs with Wayne that the entertainment industry is in tatters courtesy of the ban (public gathering).
“Most of us urban artists heavily depend on musical shows. Now, it’s a hassle to put food on our plates. It’s really hard. One of the worst in our memories,” he worried.
Revered recording artist, Propee Manyozo of Propee Records in Blantyre describes the period as one of the worst in his professional life.
He narrates, “I’d moved to Lilongwe for greener pastures but upon arrival is when companies started closing down (working from home). This has really affected our income in terms of businesses deals.”
Expectations from the new government
Meanwhile, the three heavyweights are hopeful the newly elected Chakwera-led government will properly look at the plight of the country’s entertainment industry. The three say the entertainment industry has been one of the most neglected for years now.
Provoice opines the new government should look into issues to do with copyrights as according to him, there has been mess in terms of the processes of getting royalties on the part of musicians.
“One of our incomes can be from royalties once our songs enjoy airplays. Over the years, it’s been so hard to get them as the responsible office had more often than not, frustrated us,” worried he.
On his part, Propee advises the government to ensure there are more openings that the youths can maneuver to make ends meet.
“I expect the responsible ministry to give us proper channels for us to create more jobs because some of us believe in employing people and empower them so that they can continue the trend. We need more activities that pump in money and keep the youth busy with things that are productive which will help change people’s mindset, said Manyozo.
DJ Wayne is also optimistic of having a new era where budding artists are going to be properly exposed and their talents appreciated. He believes a conducive environment for artists can make the entertainment industry, one of the most profiting industries to venture.
“We are underutilizing the talents that Malawian youths have. I would be happy if the government puts deliberate policies to promote hidden talents and ensure they’re benefiting form their talents just like it is in other countries,” Wayne advises.