Two hundred SMP members came together on Saturday, October 5, at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh for our annual gathering and AGM.
This year, in the run up to what is always our highlight event of the year, there was a particular buzz of anticipation, as we looked forward to welcoming two VIP guests – rising star of world music Lazarus Chigwandali from Lilongwe and Scottish Government Minister for International Development Ben Macpherson MSP.
Described by Madonna as ‘a powerful voice of a new generation’, former street singer Lazarus has been brought to the attention of the wider world by producer Johan Hugo who has previously worked with international stars Mumford and Sons, Lana del Rey and Baaba Maal.
In a breath-takingly short period, Lazarus has recorded an album, featured in a documentary film about his life and become a spokesperson for Africans with albinism.
On the day, Lazarus blew the audience of our members away with his performance alongside local musical talent from the Malawian diaspora in Scotland, Davie ‘Street Rat’ Luhanga and Brave Mnyayi.
L to R: Brave Mnyayi, Bob Kalin (sound), Lazarus Chigwandali, Spiwe Zulu (manager) and Davie Luhanga
We also welcomed Deputy Malawian High Commissioner Quent Kalichero and Dr Anne Phoya, the Chair of the Malawi Scotland Partnership, our sister network in Malawi, who gave an update on their activities over the past year.
Dr Ann Phoya, Chair of MaSP
Quent Kalichero, Deputy Malawian High Commissioner
The afternoon included the Scottish premiere of 'LAZARUS' the official documentary, executive produced by Madonna, which was launched at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York and is winning many awards in the run up to the Oscars.
Ben Macpherson MSP, Scottish Government Minister for International Development
Ben Macpherson closed the afternoon by thanking all our members for attending who then mingled in the conference centre foyer, catching up with old friends and forging new connections.
Kirsty Bain's full photo set on Flickr
Your feedback about the day
Feedback from those who attended tells us:
- 91% rated the event “excellent” or “very good”
- 88% made useful new contacts
What members liked best:
- “That it never feels like a lengthy formal meeting. It's just meeting up with likeminded friends with a little business.” Caroline Beaton, Kenyawi Kids
- “Chance to focus on Malawi projects in an otherwise busy life.” Ian Dickson, Rotary
- “Networking, and knowing that the SMP is flourishing and working on behalf of us, its members.” Rose Mary Harley, Strathclyde University
- “Contact with the Minister.” Member
- “My first AGM so very useful to understand the scope of SMP activities and relationships.” Member
- “Overview of what SMP has been up to this past year.” Member
- “The whole thing! The afternoon passed by so quickly and as many people commented, it didn't feel like an AGM. The official business was quick but the approaches using IT really made it engaging and informative. The second half of the meeting, with the music and inspirational story from Lazarus was excellent and a keen reminder to why we choose to have such great links with Malawi. Well done!” Fiona Anderson, Dunblane-Likhubula Partnership
- “It's been very useful meeting like-minded people and being able to collaborate.” Rose Mary Harley, Strathclyde University
- “Thank you team SMP for yet another tremendous effort to organise a really productive & enjoyable AGM. I'm already looking forward to seeing what you'll do next year!” Caroline Beaton, Kenyawi Kids
- “ I particularly enjoyed the entertainment.” Member
- “An excellent and happy event.” Rose Mary Harley, Strathclyde University
- “Thanks again. I came home as inspired as always and so proud to support such an excellent charity.” Fiona Anderson, Dunblane-Likhubula Partnership
- “Over the years, I've really valued the opportunities provided by SMP to learn more about Malawi.” Member
- “I thoroughly enjoyed the day.” Non-member