Malawi News Agency (Mana) journalist and Phalombe district information officer Sam Majamanda may be well-known for his features and news articles published in the country’s leading newspapers.
But, there is more to him. He is also passionate about filmmaking under his tag Twilight Media.
Majamanda’s passion does not focus on just making people laugh. He is into life-changing documentaries. Yes, films that change both the featured main character and the viewer.
This is his five-minute documentary on a Malawian young boy with disability, nine-year old Talandira Kogoya from Traditional Authority Mkhumba in Phalombe. It was submitted at the 2020 Focus on the Ability (FOA) Short Film contest by Nova Employment.
Majamanda says he hopes the documentary opens up new possibilities for the Standard Three learner Talandira who aspires to become a company manager one day.
He confirmed to Mana on Saturday morning that the documentary was submitted to the prestigious annual festival which recognises amazing efforts by people with disabilities from across the world.
Majamanda said voting in the FOA Festival started on August 18 and that he has received a lot of requests asking for more information about Talandira and how well-wishers can help the boy. The well-wishers also pledged to vote for him to win in international contest, he said.
He said: “Since voting started, it has been a busy week because I have to respond to many comments and enquiries about the boy, with so many people pledging to come and pay him a visit as soon as possible.
“Church groups and politicians are some of the notable sectors of society that have shown interest.”
Upon the opening of votes in the FOA Short Film Festival that can be accessed on www.focusonability.com.au, a trailer for Chosen, the documentary on Talandira went viral on social media, evidently due to the seriousness of the boy’s disability and the skills he portrays as he goes about his daily activities.
The boy, who was born with no palms and has one fully developed leg, is seen in the trailer writing in class, riding a bicycle and eating, among other things.
On chances of his documentary carrying the day, Majamanda said he believes he did his best to showcase Talandira’s amazing skills and, judging from comments and responses from both Malawi and across the borders there is hope of winning.
He, however, called on Malawians of goodwill to continue coming forward with their help, adding that seeing the boy in a better place would satisfy him more.
Commenting on the competition, project manager for Nova Employment in Malawi, Sylvia Kasiya, said the festival, which in Africa runs in Malawi and Zimbabwe, seeks to change people’s fixed beliefs and misconceptions towards values and lives of people with disabilities.
In a statement, Kasiya said: “Since its commencement in 2017 in Malawi, the festival has awarded eight people with disability and skilful filmmakers in the country and some of the people with disabilities have been able to establish themselves with the prize money through starting of businesses and furthering of studies.”
She added that while filmmakers win at the festival, people with disabilities win more through the exposure they get.
People can vote for their favourite short films through the website www.focusonability.com.