Current Affairs
WATCH: George Mifsud, Gharb resident, speaks about the winds, the seas, days gone by

In the days before weather forecasts started being posted on the media, the weathercock was the simplest instrument for many whose livelihood depended on wind direction to enable them to plan their day’s work.

As part of the various projects for Valletta 2018, several structures relating to wind direction have been placed at the four wind points of the Maltese Islands, with the weathercock being placed at the farthest village, in Gharb, Gozo. This is being done in collaboration with the Rubberbodies Collective.

We met with George Mifsud, known as Ix-Xemx (The sun) at his home in Gharb, and he immediately started passing around photographs from days gone by, and speaking nostalgically about life in earlier times.

“Some things were better in those days. Why? Well, we were much calmer. We used to take things at a slower pace. This doesn’t mean not doing anything, but there wasn’t the hurry and urgency we see around us these days.”

Gorg Mifsud, who is 81 years old, is passionate about folklore, and had once got together a group of traditional musicians. In recent months he spoke about his experiences in relation to the winds and the sea, in one of the Valletta 2018 projects entitled The Weathercocks. With the assistance of other reminiscences from residents from the four wind directions of the Maltese Islands – Imgarr, Marsaxlokk, Sliema and Gharb – permanent art items have been created, like the weathercock just a stone’s throw from the San Dimitri chapel.

The Valletta 2018 cultural programme includes more than 450 activities being planned throughout next year when Valletta takes on the mantle of European Culture Capital, a title it will be sharing with all other localities in the Maltese Islands, even the farthest ones like Gharb in Gozo.

Victoria Martha Pace, the regional coordinator for Gozo for Valletta 2018, explained that through these projects culture is being brought to everyone’s doorstep, although not everyone is conscious of being involved in the Fondation’s projects.

“Many times we don’t realise we are part of a Valletta 2018 project. We have several projects in schools which are doing the rounds around Malta and Gozo, including a project in the Rabat, Gozo school named Poetry in Potato Bags.”

In this instance, poems by Gozitan children will be forwarded to schools in the Dutch town of Luwaden, which will share with Valletta the title of European Culture Capital.

Before we left Gharb, George Mifsud said he was happy to be involved in this celebration entitled Valletta 2018. “I’m coming to the end of the road, and I sincerely wish that this will be a success,” Mifsud stated.

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