Musings on Joya’s new sunrise

Good people, filmmaker Charles Shemu Joyah keeps breaking new ground—and he looks relentless.

It is remarkable that his latest film, The Road to Sunrise, has won the Best Movie in Southern Africa gong at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA).

This is good news for the country not accustomed to international victories.

Before the Supreme Court of Self-crowned Patriots rises in arms, this country of ours is the Land of Flames, but even the football team that wears the flaming tag with XXL egos hardly spits fire to win an international game. The Flames, a State-funded bunch of bizarre haircuts mistaken for top footballers talent, have been globetrotting and gallivanting for decades with no ounce of gold or silver to show for it. If their performance under expatriate coaches has been disastrous, their defeat to Morocco and Kenya this month were supposed to be the last straw that broke a mighty camel’s back.

But our glorified flag carriers remain a State-funded project that keeps flopping on the watch of an expat who won’t being us silverware, but pile sorrow and heartbreaks.

This page shall not glorify the follies of 11 adults fluffing some dry leather they should be kicking into the opponents’ net with pride.

Unfortunately, that is where our tax goes to waste as the fireless Flames lose games at will.

Viva the world’s most consistent team—and so consistent in failure that it appears only the men in black suits at the helm of the thankless game win.

If only Treasury could spend on arts that offer something to smile about!

If one Joyah and his industry had all the State funds the Flames waste annually, what a great movie they would produce!

The movie-maker in pursuit of his childhood perchance for motion pictures looks like a lone soldier—with understudies here and there—in the struggle to put the emergent Malawian movie industry on the map.

Joyah is a storyteller with a lofty perch at the high table where his kindred dines and wines.

But it is in filmmaking the quantity surveyor makes the greatest impact internationally. Remember Seasons of A Life, which won awards and standing ovations at various international festivals it screened. Remember Last Fishing Boat, which gained a few gongs as well. Now, The Road to Sunshine’s triumph over its cousins from the continent’s southern tip cements Joyah’s standing as a filmmaker to watch.

This is the art the country should be supporting and harnessing to catalyse a rebirth of other facets of the creative sector that need jolting and jump-starting.

Such is the movie industry’s contribution that that films do not only shape fashion, fads and culture, but also economies. In fact, US Hollywood, India’s Bollywood and Nigeria’s Nollywood not degraded tobacco estates but highly profitable economic production zones that keep economies buoyant a movie at a time.

Besides, every movie well done brings smiles and lessons to the nation.

Most importantly, each movie offers employment to dramatists, singers, fashion designers, painters, photographers, graphic designers, writers…and the litany continues.

These are the jobs country forfeits by not supporting the movie industry at a time creating jobs has become a political buzzword. Surely, creating jobs for the youth is not just about massive internships to paper-coat a high vacancy rate in civil service and government’s allergy to employ and pay young workers judiciously.

And we salute FDH Bank for giving Joyah a loan for the award-winning movie.

It is stunning bank loans keep eluding Malawian artists, who are wrongly suspected of crookedness and inability to repay. At worst, creative minds are mistaken for unemployable loafers.

FDH’s confidence in the eminent member of the so-called high-risk sector shows banks can cash in on everything good about great things creative minds produce. The art sector could be the new market at a time signs of fatigue and stress are increasingly visible in the traditional business destinations. n


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