Blantyre and Mulanje
After 5 and half weeks of travelling and screening around rural Malawi, we finally hit the metropolis of Blantyre, which, despite being the country’s business district, still seems calm, clean and friendly.
A very passionate representative from local NGO, SRGDI (Sustainable Rural Growth Development Initiative), took us 20km out of the city to Chikuli trading centre for an evening screening with an enthusiastic audience who really got into debating the issues of Mbeu Yosintha.
The next day, we travelled 40km south to Nkando trading centre, 20km from Mulanje, the epic mount Mulanje shimmering through the heat haze. Our friendly rep from REFORD took us on a tour into town, past vast tea plantations and onto the lower slopes of the lush, green mountain.
We had a great double-bill that evening of both Mawa Langa and Mbeu Yosintha, with insightful discussions from the area’s younger members, who excitedly cheered each other on.
And then we came back to Blantyre and arrived at the big four-oh! Our final screening was at Blantyre Secondary School with MANAD. It was unique to all the previous 39, the audience being made up of deaf members of the community. It was pretty amazing to see them engaging with Mawa Langa and then discuss the characters and issues in great detail – one aspiring filmmaker even pointed out the storyboarding and directing tips he’d picked up – another first for the Kugawana festival.
And that pretty much sums up our experience over the past 6 weeks. We have shown PFP’s fantastic, educational dramas across the length and breadth of Malawi – and every single screening and audience has been memorable and special in its own way. From the reactions to the comments; from the venues to the ever-changing beauty of the country – it has been one special journey.
Our forthcoming Mobile Film Festival in Malawi offers an exciting and worthwhile opportunity to make a real contribution to the welfare of rural communities in one of the poorest countries in the world.
PFP is seeking someone with a real commitment to development, good organisational skills and experience of traveling in Africa to go out to Malawi for six weeks during the summer of 2014 in order to join our Mobile Film Festival Team in the role of UK Representative.
This is a volunteer post with no pay, but airfares, work-related travel within Africa, and board and lodging are all provided.
For further information including job description and how to apply, please click on the links below.
In the Usisya area of Malawi, the PFP and Temwa film, Banthu Ngati Ise (People Like Us) is having a dramatic effect in combating the stigma which normally discourages people from going for HIV testing. The film, although only part of the whole Temwa HIV & AIDS awareness programme, is now said by Temwa to be undoubtedly their most powerful tool.
Following each screening, the Temwa facilitators hold a discussion and, in view of the stigma which surrounds HIV, they have been amazed to find that, after seeing the film, people are actually asking for a testing unit to come to their village – even before the idea has been suggested to them.
A member of the Temwa field staff writes –
“It is actually very encouraging and inspirational hearing participants demanding for Voluntary Counselling and Testing services just after watching the HIV/AIDS stigma reduction film before even informing them of the objective of the sensitisation meeting. In each and every session participants, who usually include village headmen, are given a chance to ask questions, or comment or spot out any issues raised in the film. Showing an HIV/AIDS Film has proved to be a very effective tool for making people go for VCT as they are first exposed to realities of how other people are living healthily and positively with the virus. The film also gives them hope that having the virus does not necessarily mean one is going to die in the shortest time period. ”
Temwa went back to one such community with 100 test kits – and found that this was not enough!
In Malawi, ARV drugs are available free to those who have tested positive and these, together with the counselling available, can enable these people to live much longer
and healthier lives.
The PFP and Temwa film, “Banthu Ngati Ise” (People Like Us) is reaching out to more and more people and has now been shown nationwide on Malawi television.
The film, which is an HIV and AIDS awareness documentary, was screened by MTV as part of their breakfast show “Good Morning Malawi” on 9th April. There then followed an interview with Temwa Programme Manager in Malawi, Tonderai Manoto, in which was discussed, not only “Banthu Ngati Ise”, but also the upcoming the HIV/AIDS drama film for children due to be shot by PFP in Malawi this summer. Tonderai has since received numerous calls regarding both films.
More and more people in Malawi are now watching the Purple Field Productions/Temwa HIV/AIDS awareness documentary – Banthu Ngati Ise (People Like Us). The film has recently been selected for screening on Malawi television and continues to be shown regularly at free shows in the rural areas. In January and February of this year alone, over 1000 people saw it at such screenings.