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Poets conquer night, dawn

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For a start, the dusk-to-dawn ‘M’bindikiro wa Alakatuli’ show on Friday was long enough to offer life-long lessons.

The show— which took place Friday at Mibawa Multi-Purpose Hall in Blantyre— managed to attract names that local poetry lovers associate with day-time. It is the first time that local poets have organised a show from dusk to dawn.

The first lesson, according to one of the organisers Mollen Nazombe, is that “it is possible to organise poetry shows at night” and get away with the act.

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“In this case, for example, we managed to bring renowned poets to the show, and those (patrons) that availed themselves there were able to appreciate the poems and the decision to organise the event at night,” Nazombe said.

The second lesson is that Malawians who love poetry can sacrifice time to spend a night listening to a lone speaker on the stage. At the Mibawa event, the patrons were a blend of youth and the old, meaning that the ‘taste’ of poetry transcends generations.

“We are glad that people of all ages patronised the show,” Nazombe said.

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The only missing link, in terms of patronage, was the conspicuous absence of children.

The third lesson could be that, since, for the most part, patrons listened more than the danced, the decision to incorporate music at the show was a clever move that kept patrons on their feet and (kept) sleep out of their mind.

In the case of ‘M’bindikiro wa Alakatuli’ on Friday, it was Mibawa

Band – led by Gabriel Maxwell— and Giddes Chalamanda that kept the audience on its feet.

It was an effective anti-sleep concoction that kept both music and poetry lovers attentive from 08: 51 pm – when the real action, poetry-wise, started— to the late hours of Saturday.

In terms of the poets themselves, there was not much singing — except for Hudson Chamasowa, who combined song and recitals in delivering the message in one of his poems.

The fourth lesson, according to Nazombe, is that “it is possible to bring together poets from all corners of Malawi, as long as well-wishers support organisers in terms of costs because it is not easy to bring poets from far to Blantyre. For example, some poets stay in Karonga District and we are happy that some poetry lovers sometimes sponsor such poets to travel from their base to Blantyre”.

The fifth lesson could be that Mibawa Multi-Purpose Hall is a suitable place for hosting all-night poetry events. Those who wanted to enjoy poetry enjoyed poetry, those who were hungry found the food they wanted, and those who go for fizzy or alcoholic drinks left themselves at the mercy of these drinks— so much so that the audience was kept in one place for much of the evening and dawn.

Some of the poets who performed included Kazako Singano, who opened the stage with poems such as ‘Mukandinenere’ and ‘Ibwerere kwa Mwinikhola’; Wamtali Savalagogoda, whose poetry pieces included ‘Bwanji Siwudanene’ and ‘Mkazi ndi Gaga Saundika’; Kenneth Khondiwa, whose poems included ‘Anaponda ndi Mapazi Satana’ and ‘Tisewere ndi Maina’.

The others were Silvester Kalizang’oma, who recited ‘Dzibwerako’, among other poems; Joseph Madzedze, who recited ‘Achikabudula’, ‘Mayeso akuusilikali’, among others; Raphael Sitima, who went a step further by reciting Benedicto Wokomaatani Malunga’s ‘Ndidzakutengera ku Nyanja Ligineti’ from the head.

Malunga would, had he been there, surely have appreciated the effort.

Chamasowa also dished out several pieces, reciting pieces such as ‘Ikati Ilakwe’ and ‘Pemphero la Chidakwa’, , while Nazombe dished out ‘Ukakhala Ulibe Ndalama’.

In-between the poetry recitals, Mibawa Band played reggae music and songs done by local artists. It can be said that Mibawa Band is quickly turning into a master of live performances, with little, if anything, differentiating a live performance from a studio session.

Sauzande, a character in ‘Ching’aning’ani’ drama series, also gave the audience a taste of stand-up comedy.

And, then, the audience members thronged out of the Mibawa Multi-Purpose Hall to face a dark day. For, it still was dark, despite it being late Saturday morning.

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