Temwani Mgunda triumphs in African Writers Awards

International African Writers’ Day celebrated

MTENJE—We need to start acknowledging
the importance of reading

Writer Temwani Mgunda said Tuesday he was happy to have bagged the African Writers Awards for Poetry in the 2022 African Writers Awards which were presented recently at the African Writers Conference in Douala, Cameroon.

Mgunda won for his poem titled ‘The Slums of Mbayani’ outclassing Akal Mohan from Kenya, Edmund Nnane from Cameroon, Joshua Effiong from Nigeria and Isabel Nowemigisha from Uganda.

He received a cash prize of $200 alongside other winners such as Nigeria’s Britney Muoghalu (African Writers Awards for Creative Non-Fiction) and Nigeria’s Gloria Akayi Asoloko (African Writers Awards for Drama).


“The cash prize is small but what matters is being declared winner in the poetry category. The other thing is that my work will be shared in other platforms and that is one of the things a writer wants, to have his or her works read widely,” Mgunda, who is currently in Egypt said.

There were also winners in the categories of Wakini Kuria Award for Children’s Literature, African Teen Writers Awards for Poetry and African Teen Writers Awards for Short Stories.

In another development writers in Africa on Monday celebrated the International African Writers Day.


And looking at the writing adventures in the country, University of Malawi Lecturer in Creative Writing and Literature Wesley Macheso, said Malawi has lagged behind in writing over the years compared to other African countries like Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Zimbabwe or even Zambia.

“The biggest problem has been lack of support for the arts, which most people in Malawi tend to look down on mostly due to ignorance on what the arts contribute to national building, image and social consciousness,” Macheso said.

He added that while the country has had few writers getting international recognition, there has not been any substantial work worth the attention published in Malawi for decades now.

“Universities are struggling to find contemporary Malawian literature worth teaching. There needs to be deliberate efforts, especially from the Department of Culture to support creative initiatives and help revive our publishing culture,” Macheso said.

Associate Professor Asante Mtenje said the country was making considerable progress as more and more young writers are emerging with a lot of interest in writing especially poetry.

“However, as a country what we need for us to produce high quality writers who can be recognised on the international level is for more organised support for literary platforms that promote the arts in Malawi such as literary festivals where writers can showcase their work and where literary critics and writers can interact and work together in an environment that allows the literary arts to flourish,” Mtenje said.

She further said that there has to be a mindset change “where we need to start acknowledging the importance of reading and more initiatives that promote reading and writing”.

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