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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Malawian Popular Commercial State Drama: Origins, Challenges and Growth
Author:Magalasi, Mufunanji
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Geographic term:Malawi
Architecture and the Arts
Economics and Trade
Development and Technology
Politics and Government
History and Exploration
Abstract:This article explores the factors that influenced the birth and development of popular commercial stage drama in Malawi. It analyses the origins and changing political relations of the main popular drama groups, examines the social networks that linked key artists and emphasizes the important role of formal educational institutions. It also investigates the production methods used by different groups at different times, their directing styles and aesthetics. The study focuses on Chichewa and English language drama groups operating from Blantyre, whose dynamics are different from those in other regions, which also use Yao and Tumbuka. The author's sources comprise commentaries by David Kerr, Chris Kamlongera, Joyce Kumpukwe and Steve Chimombo, complemented by in-depth interviews with actors, directors and university lecturers, and reflections on his own personal experience. He argues that despite the restrictive environment created by the Banda regime in the 1960s and 1970s, popular commercial stage drama began to interact with university drama in the early 1980s and became a significant force in Malawian political culture, given its capacity to shape popular opinion and influence ordinary people's understanding of politics and politicians. It has proved a powerful medium for artists to bring aesthetic and moral commentary to broad audiences. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]