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Peter Kansengwa is finally Best Photographer of the Year

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Ras Peter Kansengwa has for the past years bombarded the classified adverts of the local dailies, putting one advert after another claiming to be the photographer of the year.

A lot of people thought he was crazy while some thought he was just one of those people seeking attention.

This marketing gimmick worked for him such that a lot of people today know him and his photographic services. He is one person who is proud of his photographic career.

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Despite winning the attention of the people, Kansengwa surely was not the photographer of the year.

But on Saturday night his dream of earning the accolade of best photographer finally came to pass as he scooped the Best Photographer of the Year 2016 in the inaugural Photographers Association of Malawi (Photama) Annual Photo Awards.

The awards were held at Malawi Institute of Tourism (MIT) in Blantyre.

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And before his name was announced as the Best Photographer of the Year 2016, one of the judges Maureen Masamba, who is Dzuka Publishing Manager, described Kansengwa as one such professional, who has shown the nation that photography is a marvelous and enjoyable career, a career full of fun, while making money.

“He has so much passion about photography that could be summed up “that he is paid for doing what he loves.” The way he markets his services differentiates him from the rest,” Masamba said.

Kansengwa putting on a black suit was over the moon with the award which he dedicated to all Malawians for their support.

“Firstly, let me thank God for this award. I never knew that this day would come. I am so happy, but this award is for all Malawians for the support and trust in me. There were times some people were not paying me at all, but I kept on pushing,” Kansengwa said.

As photographer of the year, Kansengwa received a certificate, trophy and K80,000.

“This has motivated me and now I have something to put on my shelf. All I can say is that in this time of technology there are a lot of people using phones to take photographs, but let them utilise professional photographers to have good memories,” he said.

The night did not belong to Kansengwa alone as female photojournalist Thoko Chikondi also claimed the Best Photojournalist of the Year.

Chikondi continues to shine in her work in an industry which for time in memorial has been male dominated.

She has been publishing breathtaking human interest photographs for the Nation Publications Limited as well as other international media outlets.

“I did not see it coming, but I am thankful to God for the talent and the strength to do what I do. This means so much to a girl child as we can be what we want to be, when I was starting all this I was so scared, a lot of things have happened that put me at risk. But I want to do more and give back to the community,” she said.

Chikondi received a trophy, certificate and K75,000.

There was also an award for Best Female Photographer which went to Hazel Evelyn Gadama, who received a certificate, trophy and K75,000.

Gadama makes a living through photography and has photographed hundreds of weddings and several high profile events.

“I am so happy with this award. I am so thankful to God. I just enjoy photography and it is so easy to me because it lets me tell stories through images,” she said.

During the awards, veteran photographer Dick Mlazie in absentia was decorated with the Lifetime Achiever.

Among others, one of the judges Magazo Mazeze said Mlazie, who is fondly known as Uncle Dick by colleagues in the media, took the first shot of the country’s founding president Hastings Kamuzu Banda when he landed at Chileka Airport in Blantyre in 1958.

Mlazie received a certificate, trophy and K100,000.

Photoma President Lucky Mkandawire said since the association started, they have never recognised individuals and institutions that have contributed greatly to the growth of photography hence coming up with the awards now.

Despite not being appreciated fully by other arts associations, Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) was also decorated alongside Nation Publications Limited and Royal Norwegian Embassy as most outstanding institutions supporting photography in the country.

The event, whose guest of honour was Blantyre Deputy Mayor Wild Ndipo, was spiced up by traditional dances from Chichiri Cultural Troupe.

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