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Malawian tobacco company engages movie in child labour fight

By Nicholas Msowoya, a correspondent 
Malawi’s Limbe Leaf Tobacco Company has taken on board a Lilongwe based movie outfit Transformation Theatre in sensitising tobacco farming communities around the country on the evils of child labour.
Movie in the offing
The crew is staging drama performances of its award winning child focused film The Darkest Hour in targeted communities in all the three regions, from September to November this year.
The 2011 release was in 2012 decorated the best directed feature film at the maiden Bwalo la Luso Arts and Cultural Festival, an annual fiesta organized by Copyright Society of Malawi (COSOMA).
Agricultural and Labour Practices Officer for the company Chisomo Dulamizu said in an interview that the company is on a campaign against child and forced labour in tobacco estates and they decided to engage theatre for the cause.
One of the founders of the hired outfit Edward Nyalugwe confirmed in an interview that performances are underway in places where stories of farmers using children on tobacco estates are a daily tale.
 “The company approached us if we could use our movie The Darkest Hour to help them in civic educating tobacco farmers to desist from the tendency of using children in tobacco farms because the central theme in the production is child trafficking,” explained Nyalugwe.
 “However we have altered it into a stage play, and have translated it into vernacular because the target audience is mainly from rural areas,” he added.
The Darkest Hour was written by Ignatius Kapinde and directed by Joel Mkandawire, who got credit for best director at the Bwalo la Luso Film festival.   It is the crew’s second production after a 2008 release Black Angel
Apart from the theme of child labour, the film also delves deep into domestic violence, crime and HIV and AIDS. 
On his part, Mkandawire who is also Film Association of Malawi (FAMA) President for North expressed excitement with the project, saying local films possess enormous potential to be used as agents of social change.
“Our hope is that more companies and organizations will jump into the fray and sponsor local films to be used to carry their messages to the people,” he said, appealing to viewers too to support local artists by buying Malawian movies.
Nyalugwe who is starring in both productions mentioned that the outfit is shooting their third production in November this year set for release early next year.
The Darkest Hour is basically a story of the suffering which children go through, when parents fight and family disintegrates.  The story climaxes with criminals taking advantage of the children’s helpless situation and kidnap them.

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