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Artists decorated in Cosoma awards

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SEVERAL artists were on Friday decorated with awards during a gala dinner at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe which was part of Copyright Society of Malawi’s (Cosoma) 25th anniversary.

The event was presided over by Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development, Cecilia Chazama. The celebrations started on Monday, with the launch of the school book project, followed, on Thursday, by the launch of the Integrated Arts Development project. The climax was the gala dinner and the awards on Friday.

The event was being celebrated under the theme ‘Celebrating the Past to Ignite the Future’. In her speech during the gala, Chazama congratulated Cosoma for its 25th anniversary and for working tirelessly in promoting and protecting creativity in the country and Africa.

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Some of the artists who were decorated during the awards include Sir Paul Banda (Lifetime Achievement), Skeffa Chimoto (Best Selling Musician –Digital), Lawrence Mbenjere (Top Selling Artist), Ndirande Anglican Voices (Best Choir), Ethel Kamwendo Banda (Best Female Musician), Lucius Banda (Best Male Musician) and Sambalikagwa Mvona (Best Writer).

The others are Charles Shemu Joyah (Best Filmmaker), Chrisford Chayera (Best Visual Artist), John Nyanga (Best Drama Act), Benedicto Wokoma-atani Malunga (Best Poet) Dick Mlazie (Best Photographer), Dzuka Publishing (Best Publisher) and Sam Banda Jnr (Best Arts Journalist). Meanwhile, the awards have received mixed reactions, with some commending Cosoma for decorating the artists while others feel that some people  did not deserve them.

Poet Robert Chiwamba said on social media that justice was served yesterday (Friday) as the country’s father of poetry Benedicto Wokoma-atani Malunga was crowned Best Poet by Cosoma. “Humble, hard working and willing to teach and learn always, Dr Malunga’s life is a good example of how poets ought to carry themselves,” Chiwamba said.

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He hailed Poetry Association of Malawi (Pam) executive committee for Malunga’s nomination. Ndirande Anglican Voices’ lead singer, Dennis Kalimbe, said they were thankful to God for the recognition.

“Firstly, we thank God for this great recognition from Cosoma. Being awarded the Best Choral group is no simple achievement and we thank people and fellow artists for their support,” Kalimbe said.

He also called on Cosoma to continue promoting and protecting creativity by organising such events. Pam President, Chisomo Mdalla, better known as Nyamalikiti Nthiwatiwa, said the event was well organised and that they were satisfied with the one awarded in their category.

“It was all good. Perhaps, being 25 years, Cosoma should have made more noise about the event. More so this year when a new Copyright Act was passed in Parliament,” Nyamalikiti said.

On the other hand, he said people still think Cosoma is a private entity. “Again, there is some bias towards musicians as evidenced by a number of award categories under Musicians Union of Malawi. The other arts associations had one award each,” he said.

Some quarters have, however, said Cosoma should next time appoint an independent team to work on the nominations. “There should be a team  that would consist of arts writers and critics of repute, instead of saddling that responsibility to arts associations who had to nominate and give criteria for their nominations,” said a member, who did not want to be named. All the awardees received a trophy and K200,000. Kopinor Director Knowledge and Communications , Hans-Petter Fuglerud, congratulated Cosoma for the 25th anniversary adding that the body was a lighthouse in the area of collective management of rights.

All the awardees received a trophy and K200,000. Kopinor Director Knowledge and Communications , Hans-Petter Fuglerud, congratulated Cosoma for the 25th anniversary adding that the body was a lighthouse in the area of collective management of rights.

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