To many, directing an event may look like an easy task. Hold the microphone and talk, link one activity to the other during an event such as a wedding, engagement ceremony or party. But these days, directing an event has become more than that.
Through exposure and modernity, people and event organisers have high expectations from masters of ceremony. Some new and young faces are striving to come up with unique ways of conducting the trade.
In separate interviews, some MCs said these days being an MC or director of ceremonies is pure art which requires one to be in control, effectively communicate, direct the event and make sure that it is happening in line with its timeframe while at the same time keeping it lively.
For Gomezgani Tembo, popularly known as MC Gome, being an MC is like being a leader of an event.
He said: “Being an MC is pure art. An effective MC needs to demonstrate oral communication skills when he is in front of the audience. S/he must speak with confidence, think before speaking, understand the audience and pay attention to body language. If you do not know how to joke or dance, do not try it in front of an audience.”
Tembo said an effective MC is also an effective time-keeper who knows how to manage pressure. He said an MC should be creative in all situations even when the situation is not conducive.
Under the brand MC Gome, he has so far been working on his craft and making sure that he fulfils all his MC duties and obligations.
For MC Dorothy Kachitsa, being an MC is challenging, but an enjoyable task.
“I love what I do as an MC and I do not compromise on what I deliver. I believe weddings are meant to be celebrated,” she said.
Kachitsa said as an events director, she makes sure that she manages time as it is one area that many events patrons complain about.
“When it comes to time, I believe I am the best. It is unfortunate that at times some people compromise on time, especially starting time for an event,” she said.
One aspect of being a wedding MC that patrons have complained about is making wedding guests give more money, thereby turning the event into some sort of a fund-raiser. On this, the MCs gave varying responses on the topic.
Said Kachitsa: “When wedding organisers ask me to turn the wedding into a fundraiser, I decline. My job is to direct the event, entertain invited guests and make sure that my clients are happy. A wedding is celebration and not a fund-raising gig.”
Deus Sandram, another renowned director of events, said: “When I meet a client looking for an MC who can harass wedding guests into giving more, I turn them down because with that arrangement, the focus shifts to fundraising and not a celebration. I also charge a flat rate and not demand the 10 percent [of the total collections] that others ask for.”
He added that to be a good MC, one has to be committed.
“A good MC requires time to get to understand the people involved in the function. Do some background checks, understand their culture and make sure your dressing matches the event,” Sandram said.
One couple who used MC Gome’s services recently, Chissah and William Chanachi, said they were satisfied with how the young MC used his art and abilities to make their event memorable.
“MC Gome is one of the best MCs in Malawi and August 6 is etched at the centre of our memory and he added the spark to it. He was so professional and we would recommend him over and over again for any event,” said Chissah.
Dr Wezzie Kachitsa, whose wedding was also directed by MC Gome, concurred with the Chanachi’s about his abilities and professionalism.
She said: “He is an eloquent MC. He is very professional and manages time very well. What impressed me most about him was how he took his time to know us before the event. That helped him direct in a way that suited us as individuals as well as our families.”
MC Gome, Kachitsa and Sandram agree on one thing; modern day events directing has taken a new turn which needs one to be professional, articulate and smart.