Mqabba might be a small village in the South of Malta with a population of only a little more than 3,000 people, but between its world-renowned fireworks factory and its dedication to Maltese traditions, its influence extends way further than the tiny square mile of its perimeter. And a new documentary series uploaded on Facebook wants to make sure that more people get to know the story behind Mqabba’s rich history.
Back in February, a group of young people from Kummissjoni WEB (which forms part of the Soċjeta’ Santa Marija u Banda Re Ġorġ V ) had teased a new project in collaboration with Arts Council Malta . Eventually, the project started unfolding in the form of Rakkont Ħaj, a documentary series made up of short interviews with different residents of Mqabba who lived through a very different (and instrumental) past.
The series saw short clips of around three minutes being uploaded on a weekly basis, and as it stands, the page’s site features interviews with 14 different residents. The stories that are told vary from childhood experiences, to work in the famous Mqabba quarries, to the village’s dedication to feasts. Here’s the entire list of videos.
1. Philip Galea, talking about the roots of Mqabba’s popular quarry culture
2. Raymond Lapawl Vella, recounting how the Mqabba feast used to be celebrated decades ago
3. Gigi Camilleri, remembering many residents’ emigration to Australia… and their return to Mqabba
4. Pawlu Grech, speaking about his experiences in World War II as a teenager
5. Antonia Zammit, remembering a particular air raid in April 1942 when a part of the Mqabba Parish Church was destroyed
6. Felix Camilleri, recounting childhood games and building DIY toys
7. Doris Camilleri, explaining how young children from Mqabba used to play in the streets decades ago
8. Jonathan McLeish, who moved to Malta 13 years ago and was overcome by the hospitality he was met with.
He says “I arrived here as a complete stranger to this village, but I don’t feel like the foreigner here”.
9. George Grech, who still works as a kerosene vendor in the streets of Mqabba and the neighbouring villages, talks about how his job has evolved throughout the years
10. Joseph Farrugia, talking about how Mqabba’s Santa Marija Orchestra (of which he was a member) was founded
Joseph Farrugia died earlier this year, and the series wanted to honour him and his memories with this final interview.