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Sam, the life-changing film maker

Written by  Steve Chirombo

Chikwawa, August 24, 2020: Malawi News Agency (MANA) journalist, Sam Majamanda, may be well known for his published feature and news articles, but most people probably do not know there is more to his career he is passionate about.

That aspect is film-making under his Twilight Media. His film-making is not focused on just making people laugh.

He is into life-changing video documentaries. Yes, films that would change both the featured main character and the viewer.

This is best described through his five-minute documentary of a Malawian young boy with disability, a nine-year-old Talandira Kogoya from Mkhumba Village in Phalombe.

The documentary was submitted at the 2020 Focus on the Ability (FOA) short-film contest by the NOVA Employment.

Majamanda, the Phalombe District Information Officer (DIO), hopes the documentary holds new universe for a Standard 3 Talandira who aspires to be a company manager.

He confirmed on Saturday that the documentary was submitted to the prestigious annual festival which recognises amazing efforts by people with disabilities from across the world.

The young journalist said since commencement of voting in the FOA Festival on August 18, he has received several requests from well wishers asking for more information on Talandira Kogoya.

He said they wanted to know how they could render their assistance, apart from pledging their vote for him to win in the internationally held contest.

“Since voting started, it has been a busy week for me because I have to respond to many comments and enquiries on 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 paid particular attention,” said Majamanda.

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 for Talandira Kogoya went viral on social media, apparently due to the seriousness of the boy’s disability against the skills he portrays in the movie.

The boy, who was born with no palms and only one fully developed leg, is seen in the trailer writing in class, riding a bicycle and eating, among other things.

Majamanda remained upbeat that his documentary would carry the day.

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, he is optimistic of winning.

Nevertheless, he called on Malawians of goodwill to continue coming forward with their votes and assistance.

He said seeing the boy in a comfortable place is what would satisfy him and hopefully most Malawians.

Project Manager for NOVA Employment in Malawi, Sylvia Kasiya said the festival, which in Africa currently runs in Malawi and Zimbabwe only, seeks to change people’s fixed beliefs and misconceptions towards values and lives of people with disabilities.

In a statement, Kasiya said: “Since it commenced in 2017 in Malawi, the festival has awarded eight people with disability and skillful film makers in the country.

“Some of the people with disabilities have been able to establish themselves with the prize money through starting of businesses and furthering of their studies.”

Kasiya added that while film makers win at the festival, people with disabilities win more through the exposure they get that has changed many lives elsewhere and here in Malawi.

Meanwhile, voting for the 2020 contestants continues until August 24 and 61 Malawian films and documentaries are up for votes on the competition’s website.