The rules at this year’s ‘Katambalale wa Alakatuli’ poetry show were not set in stone.
That is why poet Raphael Sitima stormed the stage clad in costume. In fact, he appeared on stage dressed like a woman. It was, of course, for a purpose.
He wrapped several pieces of cloth around his waist. The clothes were party regalia worn by Democratic Progressive Party, United Democratic Front, People’s Party and Malawi Congress Party women.
It would have been easy to dismiss him as a poetry fraud when he started with the poem ‘Mkazi ndi Gaga Saundika’, a direct attack on women’s behaviour.
Not known to the audience was the fact that Sitima had something up his sleeve: a poem titled ‘Chala Changa’, in which a persona bemoans the betrayal of voters’ trust by public officials, who detach themselves from their campaign promises the moment they are elected into positions.
By implication (gauging by the colours of Sitima’s pieces of clothes), the betrayers are political party officials— which, of course, leaves independent candidates untouched, and untouchable.
Sitima’s act sums up the levels of flexibility— in terms of performers, topics, and genres— that characterised ‘Katambalale wa Alakatuli’ show held Sunday at Mibawa Multi-Purpose Hall in Blantyre.
Music— offered by Mibawa Band— jokes (epitomised through Mr Jokes), dance moves (offered without reservations by while G.y.v. Dancing Crew), and poetry recitals, which came handy courtesy of Henry Master, Samuel Chiputula, Joseph Madzedze, Kenneth Khondiwa, Samuel Joseph, Sitima, among others, were a main part of the menu on a sunny afternoon.
It can be said, as well, that the ‘silent’ performer was the audience that turned up in droves— so much so that anticipation and heat filled the Multi-Purpose Hall in equal measure.
Khondiwa recited poems such as ‘Tisewere ndi Mama’, ‘Wakana Satana’, ‘Maloto’, among others; Chiputula offered ‘Ndapezanso Kanga ka Chi Alubino’; Madzedze dished ou t ‘Muwalangize Anawa’, ‘Achimwene Anga ku Tawuni’, ‘Ndikutenga Ukhale Wanga’, ‘Mayeso a ku Usilikali’, ‘Achikabudula’, ‘Changa Changa Nde Iweyo’, among others; Joseph recited ‘Tisamampatse Busy Mulungu’, ‘Timafoyila Pati?’, ‘Ndikufuna wa Pa Facebook Yemwe Uja’, among others.
Madalitso Nyambo, who travelled all the way from Dedza District, covered his own mile with jokes, Hudson Chamasowa and Mr Jokes also had their own time while digital lights cast shadows of light on them.
Those who took unnecessarily long on the stage, a good case being Mr Jokes, were ‘politely’ chased from the stage to pave way for others.
One of the organisers of the event, Mollen Nazombe, said this year’s event was very important in the sense that it marked the fifth time, and fifth year, they have held the event.
“Actually, we will hold our fifth anniversary in March, where a lot of poets and comedians and what have you, will perform. In addition, we are heading to Lilongwe this March because we want to share the fun,” Nazombe said.
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