Blantyre-based poet Tawonga Gausi emerged overall winner in the United Nations (UN) and Poetry Association of Malawi (Pam) Poetry Competition.
Gausi and two other poets – Tadala Nkanaunena and Innocent Bauleni, who came second and third, respectively— were announced winners on Tuesday during commemorations marking United Nations Day held at Peak Gardens in Lilongwe.
Pam President Robert Chiwamba alongside veteran poet Alfred Msadala and Grace Sharra selected the winners in the competition, which attracted 211 entries.
Gausi won with her piece ‘Let Peace’ and walked away with a trophy which was presented by the guest of honour Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Michael Usi, a laptop, external hard drive and internet Mi-Fi gadget.
“I didn’t expect it; it was all a surprise. I was just called that I had made it into the top six. I entered the competition because I love poetry and all I wanted to do was to express myself and talk about peace, which I value a lot,” she said.
Gausi said her piece centred on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“In most cases when we talk about peace, we look at where there is no war but there is more to peace. So, I had to talk about this in detail through poetry with an eye on SDGs,” she said.
Gausi said this was her first time to win in a top competition and that this has motivated her to do more with her art.
“I won a competition in school but it was not that big and this one is big for sure and that is why I am excited,” she said.
Nkanaunena came second with her poem ‘Peace is the Antidote’. He walked away with a trophy, which was presented by Minister of Civic Education and National Unity, Timothy Mtambo, a laptop and Mi-fi.
Bauleni, with his poem ‘Prophecy’, came third and walked away with a Samsung Galaxy mobile phone and Mi- Fi. UN Resident Coordinator, Maria Jose Torres presented the Samsung Galaxy and Mi-Fi to Bauleni.
The poetry competition which came barely four days after the launch of Deft Poetry Festival in Blantyre, also saw UN donating a laptop, printer and Mi-Fi to Pam.
Chiwamba, who took over the mantle of Pam leadership recently, hailed UN for partnering them in the competition and also for the donation.
“This is a big boost to us and poetry and we hope to continue working together. I would also like to call upon all poets in the country, who are not members, to join the association so that we should be speaking with one voice. We need to grow poetry and this can only happen when we unite and work together,” Chiwamba said.