Veteran playwright and drama lecturer at Chancellor College Smith Likongwe will launch his book titled Southern African Plays II this coming Sunday at Golden Peacock in Blantyre.
Likongwe said Tuesday he was looking forward to the launch, which will take place in Mzimba Room.
“There must be good motivation for doing anything. The desire to start a book series that would put dramatic literature from Southern Africa on the same pedestal with dramatic literature from other parts of the world is what inspired the creation of Southern Africa Plays series,” he said.
The first Southern African Plays Collection was published in 2018 before Likongwe took another step in working on his second in these series.
Likongwe said the publishing of his Southern African Plays II is the birth of what shall become the Southern African Plays series planned to collect and publish the best of plays from Southern Africa every two years.
“This shall influence theatre practitioners and scholars from all parts of the world to recognise the significant contribution to the dramatic literature of the world. The audiences and readers shall be accorded their right to appreciate the precious contribution from Southern Africa with its unique stories and creativity,” he said.
Likongwe said if it were not for the African Writers Series, a lot of valuable literature from Africa would have gone into oblivion without being noticed, thereby creating a false picture as “if there were no remarkable creative writers from Africa”.
“It is in the same spirit that we are coming up with this series for plays from Southern Africa. Like the first book, it is edited by me. It is not an ordinary book but a collection of the most outstanding playscripts from Southern Africa,” he said.
According to the dramatist, the 277-page book contains seven plays from six countries of Malawi, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
The plays in the book are Mzansi Hopes by Likongwe, When Angels Weep by Blessing Hungwe from Zimbabwe, Chimbwido- Girl of War by Stanley Makuwe from Zimbabwe, Battered by Donald Matthys from Namibia, Profound Secrets by Michael Tebogo from Botswana, Shoes and Coups by Palesa Mazamisa from South Africa and The Chosen One by Cheela Chilala from Zambia
During the launch of the first book, South African playwright Tau Maserumule was present in both launches in Lilongwe and Blantyre and also did a one-man performance.
“The original plan was to have one or more of the foreign contributors present but due to the current situation, it has not been possible to have any of the foreign contributors present,” Likongwe said.
He, however, said there shall be screening of part of the Zambian play The Chosen One by Cheela Chilala, who is from the University of Zambia and a columnist for Spider’s Web in Zambia’s Sunday Mail.