Let us support own stars, says poet Wokoma-atani
Legendary poet and academician Benedicto Wokoma-atani Malunga said on Sunday that the country needs to recognise and give appropriate support to its own stars so that they can continue to shine.
Wokoma-atani said this on Sunday when he presided over the launch of a book titled Southern African Plays II by veteran playwright and drama lecturer Smith Likongwe held at Golden Peacock in Blantyre.
“When we have our own stars, we should strive to give them support so that they continue to put the country on the world map,” he said.
He described the launch as a success but bemoaned low turnout.
“It’s been a very important development in as far as drama in the country is concerned. For Smith Likongwe to edit a book that has received contributions from some of the finest minds in drama in Southern Africa is an indication that he has really made strides,” Wokoma-atani said.
As the guest of honour, Wokoma-atani, who is set to release his poetry collection titled Ulaliki Wamoto, also took time out during the event to entertain people with some of his poems and they included one poem on Covid.
Wokoma-atani also showed support to Likongwe when he was among the highest bidders during auction conducted by host, poet and presenter Yankho Seunda.
Likongwe, who had the presence of his family during the launch, said he was overjoyed that he has finally launched Southern African Plays II which follows the publishing of Southern African Plays Collection in 2018.
“We have managed to launch the book in spite of the situation, I am not complaining of the low patronage because I know about the situation we are in. This book is a product of the communication of creative minds in the Southern part of Africa. It is a small contribution towards the bank of dramatic literature in the world,” Likongwe said.
He said through this book “we register not only our presence but also the unique talent that exists”.
Likongwe said it was common knowledge that theatre practitioners, theatre audiences, critics and academics find solace in giving examples of playwrights and plays from the Western world when they want to discuss theatrical excellence.
During the launch, Likongwe also showed his drama skills when he participated in some performances derived from extracts of some of the seven plays making the 277 page book.
Some former and present Chancellor College Travelling Theatre students as well as Likongwe’s children also participated in the performances.
Poets Mashallo Samillo and Paul Sezzie also spiced up the launch.
Some of the plays in the book include Mzansi Hopes by Likongwe and When Angels Weep by Blessing Hungwe from Zimbabwe.
Other books to Likongwe’s credit include Kamuzu Banda and Other Plays, The Chief’s Blanket and Other Plays, Living Playscripts: A Trilogy which has Bakili’s Wit, Amai’s Turn and The Tragedy of Bingu.