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Students battle in French song contest

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By Sam Banda Jnr:

Jacaranda Foundation continues to promote the speaking of the French language in the country by initiating projects, the latest being the French song competition whose preliminaries kicked off last weekend.

The French song competition started last year following a request from teachers in secondary schools in the country, according to chairperson of the organising team and Director of French Studies at Jacaranda Cultural Centre (JCC) and Maison de la France in Blantyre, Poya Chapweteka.

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Chapweteka said the Chantons en français is a singing competition targeting forms one to three French learners in secondary schools in the country.

In the Southern Region, the event was held at JCC and the secondary schools that battled it out were Jacaranda, Joyce Banda, St Patricks and Stella Maris.

In the Southern Region, the four students that made it to the national final of the French song competition to be held on June 15 2019 at JCC are Felistar Luciano and Thocco Gama from Jacaranda, Amos Guche from Zomba Catholic and Donata Banda from Stella Maris.

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Chapweteka said the four have qualified for the grand finale to be held at JCC on June 15 2019.

“It was a tough competition and the judges made up of Chigo Grace, gospel artist Mathieu Bondo, artist and French teacher and Promise Mwafulirwa, a student at Malawi Institute of Tourism, did not find it easy to come up with the winners,” he said.

Chapweteka said the students were given all the freedom to perform songs of their choice, revealing that one of the winners, – Amos Guche, impressed the audience when he performed the late Evison Matafale’s song ‘Yang’ana Nkhope’ in French.

He said, before announcing the results, Chigo Grace performed her French song together with fellow judges.

“This year, we have increased the number of finalists per region from three to four. This year, we are also allowing accapella and use of musical instruments as last year we only had the karaoke version,” Chapweteka said.

He said the preliminaries in the Central Region will be held this coming Saturday at Lilongwe Girls Secondary School. The schools set to battle it out are Lilongwe Girls, Dzaleka, Good Shepherd International and Dedza.

In the Northern Region, the schools that participated in the contest held at Mzuzu University are St Mary’s Karonga Girls, Katoto, Marymount and Euthini.

At the end of it all, St Mary’s Karonga produced two winners in Caroline Khunga and Jessie Kapesa. The others are Candid of JCC Banda from Euthini and Frank Banda (Katoto).

“So as indicated earlier, we have four each from each region who will qualify for the grand finale. So far, we have winners from South and North and now we wait for the Central Region,” Chapweteka said.

Organised by Jacaranda Foundation with support from the French Embassy in Malawi, the winners are expected to walk away with prizes that include trophies, medals, books and T-shirts.

The winner of the French song competition 2018 edition was Christabel Rudi from St Michaels Girls, who went away with K25,000.

“Apart from unearthing talent, the competition is there to help students learn French through music and build self-confidence,” he said.

Meanwhile Chapweteka has also revealed that they will this coming weekend host a French storytelling competition to be held at Chancellor College in Zomba.

Running under the theme ‘Climate Change’, which will also be the same theme for the 2019/20 French Schools Drama contest, the storytelling session will involve colleges such as Chancellor College, Domasi and Mzuzu University.

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