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Students visited and documented in the field of,
Malawi Folktales Project

  • ©Emanuel Michel Mawanyongo
Malawi, a landlocked country in the southern part of the African continent, is full of folktales and children’s stories that have been passed down orally through the generations. However, as they are oral stories, almost none of them have ever been recorded in print or audio. As the storytellers age and it becomes harder and harder to pass their stories on, Sony is working to help record these valuable intangible cultural assets as videos and audio by providing equipment to UNESCO and the Global Future Charitable Trust which are spearheading this venture, as well as having our engineers provide technical guidance on how to operate this equipment.
Two students from the University of Malawi - The Polytechnic took part in a project operated by Sony, UNESCO and Global Future Charitable Trust to document the tradition and culture of folktales in Malawi over four days in July, 2012. Professional photographers taught the use of photographic equipment, and helped during shooting and the students recorded each step.

  • ©Esnarth Priminta

Comments from Participants

Student photographer: Emmanuel Michael Mwanyongo

My First Time Experience with Professional Photography

Ever since I was a kid, I have had a keen interest in photography but as an aspiring filmmaker, I had very little knowledge of the art. However, in the day I spent with the wonderful Arien Van Der Merwe, probably the best photographer in Malawi, my photography eyes have been opened. Exposed to a lot of knowledge and best practice, my life is changed for the better.
Our journey into photography began in Likuni, near the capital city Lilongwe. We spent three days photographing the film crew working in several rural areas that I’ve never been to before.
The film crew rarely agreed on the best time of day to shoot, due to the sunlight, something Arien had taught us to focus on. We also had difficulties in photographing during lunch hour as the sun was overhead.
We produced some great pictures and we learnt a lot. I now see myself having a successful career in photography and film ahead of me. I want to start a small film and advertising company. As a journalism student I have benefited a lot from the trip and it has prepared me for a photojournalism course I’ll be taking next semester.

  • ©Esnarth Priminta

  • ©Esnarth Priminta
Student photographer: Esnarth Priminta


On 3rd July, 2012, we left Blantyre and arrived in Lilongwe to be taken to the Aonenji Nsanje Lodge in Likuni. The following day we took photographs of the narrators for almost 8 hours. Usually we shot the narrators, the video crew and of course, the villagers.

Personally I loved the trip and particularly enjoyed the whole experience in the field. I sharpened my media skills especially in photography as well as video shooting. As a media student, it was a very special privilege for me to take part.

Professor: Arjen van de Merwe

Professor Arjen van de Merwe both students declared it was a good experience for them. They appreciated the training and the field experience, as well as the opportunity to travel to a part of the country where they usually do not come (Lilongwe rural), so they know their own country better.

※The comments of students is posted on the web as original.

  • ©Esnarth Priminta

  • ©Esnarth Priminta

Lilongwe district, Malawi
Partner schools:
Polytechnic University
July 3 to 6, 2012
UNESCO, GFTC (Global Future Charitable Trust)
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