Mangochi District Council Friday handed over a MK24m structure to artisans at Cape Maclear Turn-Off Curios Market along the Monkey-bay Road amidst jubilation by curio sellers and other artisans.
The structure, which is in form of a block comprising a display area and nine store rooms, has been constructed to ease business and protect curios and other artifacts from rains and sun heat, according to Director of Public Works (DPW) for the council, William Kulapani.
Deputy Chair for Mangochi District Council, Fatima Chilawi, said the construction of the shelter was a response to the artisans’ complaints that the former makeshift grass-thatched structures were not attractive to tourists.
“The artisans had complained for a long time that their artifacts and curios were not well protected and that the grass shelters were not attractive in the eyes of tourists,” explained Chilawi.
“We are now sure that with this new structure, business will be easier and smooth unlike before,” she added.
Cape Maclear Turn-off Curios Market chairperson, George Maseko, concurred with Chilawi saying the artisans had struggled for a long time with no proper structure for their artworks. However, Maseko asked the council to consider supporting the artisans in any way possible to get back on their feet saying COVID-19 has crippled
“We are thankful for the shelter: However, it comes at the time that we have stayed for over 5 months without doing business as we are no longer receiving tourists since Coronavirus broke out forcing countries to suspend traveling,” explained Maseko.
He further appealed to government to consider scraping off entry fees to tourists coming into the country when airports open again saying the charges deter tourists from visiting the country. The artisans will be paying rental fees to the council for use of the shelter. Senior Chief Nankumba and Mangochi-Monkey Bay Member of Parliament, Ralph Jooma, thanked the council for the structure and they both asked the artisans to take good care of it.