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Spoken-word poetry revival

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On a sunny and hot Sunday afternoon, poetry enthusiasts flocked to Kwa Haraba Art Gallery in Blantyre for a poetry feast organised by spoken-word poets.

With nine poets performing, the day was meant to rejuvenate spoken-word poetry since poets in that genre had been on mute. And, despite some flaws such as reciting from the phone instead of the mind, and the function starting late, the poets gave their all.

Organiser of the event, Yankho Seunda, said the show went according to plan.

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“We called it the Rise of Spoken-word Poetry because we were trying to make an impression to Malawians that there is still spoken-word poetry and Blantyre rocks. At least a lot of people turned up and even over-patronised the event—which is a positive response because we hardly had people coming to watch English poetry and I think this is the first of its kind here in Blantyre,” Seunda said.

Seunda said they would organise more of such events.

“This was just the genesis. We used to have open mic poetry sessions way back in the days. I remember that we would meet at Mibawa Arts Cafe every Wednesday between 2013 and 2014.

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“Mibawa gave me a platform, uplifted me and gave me the exposure that I have got and I performed at a number of festivals. But, since the demise of Mibawa Arts Cafe, there was no platform for poets to meet up, recite and share poetry. We want to have that platform. There are lots of poets staying at home so together with other poets I think I have the responsibility to create a platform for them,” he said.

One of the poets, Panacea Phiri, said the event had given her a platform as an up-and-coming poet.

“This is my first performance. It makes me feel special and recognised. It’s not common to find a woman amongst male poets. I feel good that I’m standing up for my fellow women,” Phiri said.

Musician Agoroso spiced up the event with her performance of Africa.

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