South Africa-based Alkebulan Authors’ Platform has unveiled its space to writers in the country, urging them to create wealth from their talent.
Founder of the Platform Victor Phume said this on Saturday at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.
He said Malawi is a third country to launch the initiative after South Africa and Ghana.
“We want to raise authors to be millionaires. Our writers are not creating wealth and this is a very serious problem.
“So, through Alkebulan Authors’ Platform, which is a continental literary forum, we want writers to benefit financially from their craft and skill. At the same time, we want to make creative writing a viable development industry,” Phume, an author and entrepreneur who owns three radio stations, two television channels Tshwane TV and Gau TV on Dstv platform, said.
He, however, lamented the irony of having African stories being narrated by writers from outside the continent.
“Outsiders write stories about us and they make millions out of those narratives. It is in the public domain. We need to write books,” he said.
According to Phume, the platform will run a competition to reward one writer from the African continent with one million rands.
“Published authors will log on to the Alkebulan Authors’ Platform, fill out a membership form and enter to join the competition. It is my prayer that a Malawian writer should emerge an inaugural winner,” Phume said.
Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Michael Usi said the platform would go a long way in uplifting Malawian writers who have long been struggling financially to publish and market their books.
“Our writers have been longing for such a platform because [such] literary artists have lacked such support for so long. And the coming in of Alkebulan Authors’ Platform will empower African writers to ensure that they benefit financially from their creativity.
“In fact, government is committed to ensuring that creative writers are being given incentives and this will be possible through the National Book Development, which is being championed by the Ministry of Education,” Usi said.
Malawi Writers Union President Chikumbutso Ndaferankhande said creative writing fora are rare and urged writers to craft good books to earn recognition.
“We have potential in the country and we can rub shoulders with the rest of Africa’s literary greats. So, such platforms are key in unearthing new talents that can replace the [David] Rubadiris, the [Jack] Mapanjes and [Steve] Chimombos, who are either departed or aged,” Ndaferankhande said.
During the launch, cookbook writer Thokozani Chirwa went home with 50,000 Rands (about K2.8 million) which she won during a raffle draw.