Everyone wants to unwind after a hard day of work One may sit back and get entertained, be it through music, theatre and dance.
News that the currency has been devalued by 44 percent definitely means the entertainment industry will also be adversely affected. People may opt to prioritise basic needs such as food pushing entertainment into the background.
Bar and Venue Owners Association of Malawi general secretary MacDonald Soko in an interview said the devaluation will have a devastating effect on both the entertainment sector and people since everyone needs the sector to be thriving.
“If you look at it, with financial challenges, people will cut down their spending on entertainment. But then they will need to relax even more now with all the stress that comes with financial challenges. It is sad,” he said.
Soko added that if entertainment activities don’t get enough patrons, venue owners and events managers may be forced to fire some of their staff.
“As a venue owner who hosts shows every now and then, I know that booking fees for artists will go up. This will mean less shows and less entertainment. In the end people will stress even more,” he said.
Soko also said that since the price of fuel, accommodation and food have gone up, that artists booking fee and even gate fees will be adjusted upwards.
On his part, Musicians Union of Malawi president Vita Chirwa said the situation will affect musicians negatively.
“In response to devaluation, we tend to adjust prices to try and contain the situation. But in the process we burden the people who support us by patronising our shows, buying our music and our merchandise, who now have to pay higher prices. This is where the corporate world needs to step in and hold our hand,” he said.
On his part, The Great Angels Choir music director Ephraim Zonda said though the situation is worrisome, they will try to make the most of what they can.
“The devaluation has happened and it is time to make things work despite the challenges. Everyone needs to dance and be entertained every now and then and we will continue to provide that though we know that there will be challenges as things are now more expensive,” he said.
Random interviews with funseekers however indicate mixed views on patronising arts events.
“I will continue attending shows, but I will have to slow down since things are expensive now. I cannot deny myself some happiness,” said Ken Lumbira, a Ndirande resident.
Another fun-seeker Maria Chisi said her resources will have to go to the important things first.
“I need to eat and pay rent. Only if I have some money left will I patronise shows or do fun things with my friends. Otherwise tidzimvera wayilesi [we will be listening to the radio],” she said. Last week, the Reserve Bank of Malawi announced a 44 percent devaluation of the Malawi kwacha due to several economic factors.