Myriad themes at poetry feast


Poets from Sapitwa, led by Robert Chiwamba, and Vilipanganga Poetry Movement, led by Yankho Seunda, on Saturday entertained people with verses at Kwa Haraba Art Gallery and Café in Blantyre.

Vilipanganga, which has built its base at the same venue— where it holds performances every Wednesday— partnered Lilongwe-based Sapitwa to celebrate World Poetry Day which falls on March 21 every year.

With the day this year falling inside the week [on a Wednesday], the two poetry movements decided to push their celebration to a weekend.


But, despite being a Saturday, the poetry feast failed to pull a huge audience.

It was a platform that saw poets giving their all, offering poems tackling various issues— from love, corruption, power outages and gender-based violence.

The platform also proved that poets are not people who watch events unfold from afar, but they are also feeling the pinch; hence, they are willing to speak out and bring about change.


It was not a 100 percent score on the night for the poets as there were some who did not do well. Nevertheless, some poets were brilliant.

Running under the theme ‘Born of Art’, the event witnessed performances of Chiwamba, Seunda, Phindu Banda, Muyanga, Rodwell Lumbe, Yangie, Mtisunge Botoman and Rabie Kondowe.

However, the list on the night was dominated by male poets; Phindu being the only female representative.

Writer Dave Namusanya, who patronised the event, said there was an improvement in terms of poets’ performances.

“I have followed Vilipanganga and, tonight, I can say that there is a huge improvement. The themes were diverse,” Namusanya said.

He said the partnership between the two poetry movements did wonders on the night.

“I have been one of the people who have always been skeptical of poetry, in terms of where it is going, but we have a future and this can only work if we nurture the talent. There have been bad performances but I would rather dwell on the brilliant ones,” Namusanya said.

On his part, Chiwamba said it was a good event where vernacular and poets who star in English shared the stage for one common goal of celebrating World Poetry Day.

“It’s rare to have poets starring in vernacular and those who concentrate on English sharing the stage but, tonight, this worked and the main purpose of celebrating World Poetry Day was achieved,” Chiwamba said.

He said Vilipanganga and Sapitwa will continue to work together for the development of poetry in the country.

“We want to see to it that poets get more opportunities to perform outside the country and represent Malawi,” Chiwamba said.

Chiwamba, who disclosed that he would be releasing a new album later this year, called upon fellow poets to keep on working hard, adding that there was room for improvement.

Seunda said the partnership is the beginning of more things to come from the two movements.

“We would like to thank those who came tonight and all we can say is that this is just the beginning; we have more things coming up. For those who would like to use our poets, they are also free to contact us through our website,” Seunda said.

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