Malawi musicians in unionism conference

In a quest to familiarize musicians with how works of their union, the Musicians union of Malawi (MUM) is holding a two-day conference for its central chapter in Lilongwe.

Rudo Nkukupa Chakwera: Highlighted struggles of a union

The workshop, funded by the Swedish Musician Union (SMF) began July 19 at Simama hotel in Lilongwe.

In attendance are both secular and gospel artists who are being given insight on important topics that were tackled at a training that took place on 12-16th June at Lingadzi where 20 participants attended.

One of the presenters, Rudo Chakwera highlighted struggles of a union, importance of a unity and benefits of fostering a democratic union.

Chakwera went on to give the participants a practical exercise to assess whether democracy is practiced in MUM; if there is unity and practical benefits of being in the union.

Speaking at the opening, MUM Chairperson Reverend Chimwemwe Mhango said the conference has been organized to help foster unity and help musicians understand what is expected of them in the union and help them know their rights.

“They (artists) need to understand what kind of powers we have as a union” he said.

Mhango highlighted that “this workshop will help them look at how they can recruit new members that will help strengthen the union as one of their expectations is to see membership increase” adding “we hope that after the workshop the nation will realize that the music industry ought to be respected”.

“This will open up a little bit on how musicians are to be treated,” he added.

In her presentation, Deputy Director for Education and Organizing for Malawi Congress of Trade union, Jessie Ching’oma tackled Malawi labor movement and gender in the union citing that sexual harassment, stigma and discrimination based on gender are some of the challenges against gender equality in unions.

She quickly pointed out these can be overcome by available opportunities such as the he For She Campaign and willing donor support among others.

Ching’oma further encouraged organizations and individuals to lend a hand in supporting the girl child’s education and women who are at low cost to make gender equality happen in unions and workplace.

One of the participants, an upcoming musician Beanca Wadada commended the union for organizing such an eye-opening workshop.

“The workshop is really great because I am learning a lot of things that i did not know.” She said.

Lulu round up the day with a musical performance. The conference is continues today engaging urban musicians as it rounds up.

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