Malawi cartoonists forming association

Malawi’s cartoonists and illustrators met in the commercial city of Blantyre on Saturday 14th January 2012 to map out strategies to improve their trade. The artists, both novice and veteran, agreed to formulate an association.

Briefing converged artists, veteran cartoonist, famed for the moral Chatsalira character, Richard Mwale, said there were serious groups of people both local and international that wanted to work with artists but from a stronger platform.

“Some people have expressed the need to work with cartoonists and illustrators in Malawi in different projects at hand. However, they wish to work with a grouping other than individuals,” he said.

Kazembe: Inviting cartoonists

Secretary at the meeting, Amntchona cartoonist James Kazembe said the meeting which was held at the Mount Soche Hotel at 10am before moving to Appolo Arcade at 10:30am, will see the cateloging of artists in Malawi, opening of an office and establishment of further contact bases.

“It is slated that in mid-February there will be an illustrators exhibition by the German Embassy as one of the projects in the pipeline. As an association we will be moving to hold fund-raising activities and capacity building initiatives for our membership,” he said.

The association, which has failed to take off for many years before, will carter as a mother body for all illustrators im Malawi, and therefore will protect its members in varying areas ranging from who they work with in case of abuse and other professional encounters, added Kazembe.

In a separate interview with Lilongwe-based Olemekezeka and Kunjani cartoonist M’theto Lungu, he pointed out that this was a dream long awaited for and he was excited with the development.

“I am sure artists like all other professionals need their respect. We also want to honour our fallen heroes through such a body. We had greats like Vic Kasinja and Brian Hara who have been pillars in many peoples moral growth in the country through their outstanding work, but they are still unrecognised. We cannot continue to do this,” he said.

Kazembe, on the other hand, added the new grouping yet to be named, will also provide formal or non-formal schooling knowledge to pcoming artists and/or the veterans areas of need for career education and knowledge.

“We have experienced members who will help in this cause,” he said, adding the association will make any communication to illustrators very easy. The group will also endeavour into different projects, such as publishing of a magazine or comic book, conducting open shows like exhibition and many activities.

The meeting also agreed that there be a fund to help in its operations beefed up by fund-raising activities. This initially will be aimed at illustrators from the grassroots, based in rural or remote areas.

The gathering also suggested that the group should hold elections for office bearers of at least 10 members as a quorum – Chairperson and vice, Secretary and vice, Treasurer, and four members including an ex-officio sitting on the board.

“This will also require that we quickly move to establish offices, a bank account and other basic start-up requirements. We are currently learning from other associations on registration and other legal aspects,” said Kazembe.

Attending the meeting were Mwale (Freelance), Ralph Mawera (The Nation), Tofala Dikani (The Nation), Kazembe (The Nation), and Heath Kathewera (Domasi Institute). Those listed as members and invited a meeting of 4th February 2012 meeting include Haswell Kunyenje (BNL), Isiah Mphande (Domasi Institute), M’theto Lungu (NAMEDiA), Hendi Mawera (The Guardian), Rodgers Chilemba, Peter Tikiwa, Peter Nyankhuwa (BNL), Chimwemwe Chiwanda (PSI Malawi), Steve Chagunda (MCDE), Gift Mawindo (Chikhwawa), Grace Mzumara, Louis Mota, Elube Bwanali, Chimwemwe Lungu (Cherub Schools), and Pamuyu Mbale (Freelance).

“We ask others who are cartoonists or interested in the career to also come and be with us,” invited Kazembe

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