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Poets challenged

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Poet, Raphael Sitima, on Monday challenged fellow poets to observe the dos and don’ts of poetry and strive for quality and not quantity if they are to stand out in the game.

Sitima said this in an interview soon after launching his first DVD titled Chala Changa and third album Mfiti za Mfiti at Blantyre Cultural Centre.

With a rich line-up of poets such as Hudson Chamasowa, Samuel Joseph and Joseph Madzedze as well as performances from presidential mimickers of Atcheya, Mr Malawi and Aunt Geti and dancers GYV with Sitima as the headliner, the launch managed to pull a good audience.

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Sitima was thankful to God for the good turnout saying he did not anticipate such patronage.

“I did not anticipate such a big audience but all this tells you how people love poetry. It was not like this in the past years but here we are talking about poetry filling the Blantyre Cultural Centre to the brim,” the poet said.

He then challenged fellow poets to work extra hard in their work to maintain the audience.

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“Let us not make a mistake of taking the audience for granted. We are happy more people are patronising poetry gatherings but for us to keep this audience and attract more, we need to work extra hard to bring out the best,” Sitima said.

He said poets have to wake up from their slumber and start taking poetry as a serious art.

“People want good quality work so as poets we need not tire, let us follow the rules and regulations of poetry. It’s not about quantity but quality and in that way we will maintain the audience,” Sitima said.

His call comes on the background of some quarters hitting at poets for losing the plot saying some of them are manipulating the rules by taking jokes for poetry.

Chamasowa recently said the landscape has changed as the audience has also impacted on how poetry is made.

Sitima said he has worked very hard in putting the two products together and that he also did his best in the preparations for the launch.

However, as a headliner, Sitima was expected to perform for long and even give the audience more poems from the new album as well as the DVD, but he only managed a few.

This is because time was not well managed and there were several delays which led to other poets only offering a poem each.

Sitima’s poem ‘Chala Changa’ is popular and talks about the May 2014 elections which saw Justice Kenyatta Nyirenda make a landmark ruling in which the result was that Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) was forced to release the results of the May tripartite elections which it had been holding to for so long.

With injunctions, directives and irregularities noted, Mec had been forced to withhold the results until Nyirenda set it free.

Nyirenda made it to the launch and said ever since he held the poem he had loved it.

“The poem speaks volumes about what transpired. I would like to thank the poet for preserving it through poetry. It was not easy to make that ruling,” he said.

In appreciation of Sitima’s work, Judge Nyirenda, who sat the back in the audience, bought the CD and DVD at K100,000 receiving a huge applause.

Sitima said he did not invite Judge Nyirenda to the event but he was surprised that he made it after hearing his poem.

Surprisingly Nyirenda was the one, who cut the ribbon to launch the CD and DVD.

In the poem, Sitima tells it all that the judge showed his bravery in the ruling.

Several other people, including fellow poets also bought the CD giving out higher amounts.

Some poets including Sylvester Kalizang’oma of the ‘Unkalindanji Moyo’ hailed Sitima for the colourful launch.

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