Minister of Sports, Youth and Culture, Francis Phiso, on Saturday called on writers in the country to continue writing and produce quality work to attract more readership.
Phiso made the remarks during the official launch of a poetry book titled Wokoma Nyasa by poet and musician, Mashallo Samillo, at Jacaranda Cultural Centre (JCC) in Blantyre.
“I would like to thank Mr Mashallo Samillo for this book. This is what we want; we need more books on the ground so that we instill the reading culture in the current generation. But I also would like to call upon writers to produce quality work added that to attract readers out there,” Phiso said.
He said writers should also write on different themes aimed at helping in the development of the country and unite people.
Phiso bought Samillo’s book at K400,000 during auction with other books also being bought by Malawi Writers Union (Mawu) and University of Malawi’s – Chancellor College.
Many players in the industry have bemoaned the lack of support to the creative industry.
But Phiso said the government is committed to supporting the industry and that he was looking forward to interacting with the creatives in different disciplines to look at their needs and challenges.
“At the moment, we are working on different projects and one of them is the refurbishment of the Blantyre Cultural Centre. We are now in the last phase,” Phiso said.
Mawu President, Sambalikagwa Mvona, hailed Mashallo for the book.
“As Mawu, we are happy for Mashallo; he is a musician but he has expanded his base to also venture into writing. It is a good book and it just shows that writers are writing,” Mvona said.
Mvona also thanked the minister for patroinising the event.
“We want more of such interactions. As creative players, we are experiencing many challenges and one of them is that we still do not have the Arts Council and this is why we are not receiving any funding. We are happy that he has agreed to meet different players in the arts,” Mvona said.
Mashallo said the book speaks about the beauty of Malawi.
“This book took me a lot of time and I am happy to have it on the ground. I just want to call upon people to buy it and appreciate some of the poems,” he said.
The book has over 90 poems.
The launch was spiced up by musical and poetry performances coming from among others, storyteller Nancy Phiri and veteran poet Benedicto Wokomaatani Malunga.