The semi-finals of the Tikonzekere Arts contest were held at Jacaranda Cultural Centre (JCC) in Blantyre over the weekend, with 15 artists making it to the grand finale to be held during the Blantyre Arts Festival (Baf) early next month.
The first semi-final was held on Saturday and involved song writing, videos and drawing.
The judges of Tawonga Nkhonjera (video), Andrew Missi (drawing) and legendary musician Wyndham Chechamba (song writing) scrutinised the works on the day to come up with the finalists.
It was a long afternoon that saw judges as well as the audience sampling the songs, videos and drawings communicating flood vulnerability reduction and good practices in the country through arts.
In the drawing category, the three who made it to the final are Peter Nyakhuwa, whose works appear in Malawi News through his cartoon strip Zayakunkhongo with his work ‘Vulnerability Reduction’, Innocent Fabiano with ‘Fleeing the Disaster’ and Hearth Kathewera with ‘Tikonzekere Comic’.
The three that triumphed in the video category are Chisomo Livason with ‘Kusintha kwa Kaganizidwe’, Rabson Sauti (Behind the Tree) and Fumbani Phiri with ‘The Dyke in Malawi’.
In the song writing category, the three that made it to the final are Times Group presenter Fungai Mutsinze with his song ‘Kupewa’, Goodwell Thunga (Tikonzekere Ife Tonse) and renowned singer Tigris with ‘Zothekera’.
On Sunday, the semi-final shifted to poetry and storytelling, which also produced six finalists.
In the poetry category, women showed their verve by sweeping all the three positions. The three that made it to the final are Hannah Mngoli with her poem ‘Flood Vulnerability Reduction, Agatha Malunda (Ridding the Back of Flood’, and ‘Zafikapa N’pa Chizolowezi’ with Magdalena Nankhonyo.
Harold Kapindu, Murendehle Nkhoma and Peter Foley are the three finalists in the storytelling category with their stories Chisomo’s Fate, Gogo Must Come Home and The Wall respectively.
One of the partners in the competition, Manard Nyirenda, Executive Director of Sustainable Development Initiative (SDI), who was also on the judging panel, described the semi-finals as a success.
“The concept is good, people are talking about it. We now have the finalists but it was tough. There is a lot of talent.
Apart from the message, we are also looking at talent”, Nyirenda said.
He said they were happy in that the semi-finals involved both the old and the young.
Contest coordinator, Bob Alexander, better known as Barefoot Bob, who has also produced theme for the competition, described the semi-finals as entertaining.
“I feel like there was a lot of entertainment and we had many different aspects of what’s important for reducing problems associated with floods and heavy rains. I feel positive with the finalists we have selected,” Alexander said.
Actor and playwright Fumbani Phiri, who triumphed in the video category, said he is looking forward to the final.
“I am happy to have made it to the final having worked on the video for a short time. These initiatives are key because they give the youth a chance to use their talent to disseminate different messages and this case to do with climate change,” Phiri said.
The winners in each category are expected to share K300,000 distributed as follows: K150,000 first position with K100,000 and K50,000 for second and third positions.