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Lazarus Chakwera splashes K11 million in Zikomo awards

Women lead in arts category

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Michael Usi

President Lazarus Chakwera on Friday gave out cash prizes totalling about K11 million to 21 Malawians, including four artists in the category of arts, in recognition of their contribution to national development in the 2022 Presidential Zikomo awards.

The category of arts has seen dominance by women artists claiming three awards, with the awardees spread in the artistic disciplines of theatre, film, poetry and visual art.

The recipients in the arts category are veteran actress Enifa Chiwaya, who has been in the theatre industry for over 30 years and stars for Kwathu Drama Group, actress and filmmaker Flora Suya, who is the brains behind Times Television soapies Spouses and Workmates and Mdyangu, visual artist and filmmaker Elson Kambalu, who is the owner of La Galleria, and poet Luckier Chikopa famed for the poem ‘Mamuna Ndi Mbalame’.

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Suya, who featured in Shemu Joyah’s films Seasons of A Life and The Last Fishing Boat said that “the award means that my efforts and contribution in the film industry are being recognised”.

“I have been given extra fuel to work even harder. It is exciting to see women dominating and it means that we, as women, have realised that it is possible to lead and make a difference in our different fields,” she said.

Chiwaya said she was thankful to receive what she described as a special award.

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“I would like to thank God for the talent and the President for the award,” she said.

Kambalu and Chikopa also said they were excited with the award.

During the event, which took place at State House in Lilongwe, Chakwera also posthumously gave a special award to rapper Martse real name Martin Nkhata.

Martse, famous for songs such as ‘Mwano’ and ‘Mkatimo’, succumbed to burn wounds at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre on May 23 2022 after a house he slept in, in Mangochi District, caught fire.

Chakwera said Martse’s music had an impact not just on young people but also adults. His parents received the award.

The President said he will continue to expand the sectors to recognise Malawians every year in an effort to motivate them to serve their country with purpose, adding that the awards are not a compensation for such service.

“This award doesn’t mean that you are being compensated for your service to the country. If you have been doing your works for the country out of love for the country, then it means you have already accepted the progress of Malawi as a result of your works,” Chakwera said.

Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Michael Usi thanked Chakwera for the Zikomo awards, saying “they are critical since they motivate other people in the fields to contribute towards the country’s development”.

The awards were introduced in 2021 to honour health personnel that rendered outstanding services in the fight against the Covid pandemic, but Chakwera has since expanded the scope to arts, agriculture, entrepreneurs, education and Information and Communication Technology.

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