Youths dominate Mawu Religious Awards
Youths were the toast of the moment on Saturday as they dominated the Malawi Writers Union (Mawu) Religious Awards held at Alendo Hotel in Blantyre.
The awards which Mawu is running with funding from Daniel Greenup Foundation of the USA saw a form four student at Michiru View Boys Secondary School in Blantyre, Innocent Chiwanda, come first with Juliet Miriam Newa, a form four student at St Jones Area 12 Academy in Blantyre on second position while Bright Jones Chizumila was third.
The trio impressed the judges of Reverend Father Preciano Muyankha of St. Montfort Catholic Parish (CI) in Blantyre and Reverend Vincent Chirwa of Blantyre Baptist Church.
Chiwanda received K50,000 and books for coming out top while Newa and Chizumila received K30,000 and K20,000 plus books for coming out second and third respectively.
With religion being a platform dominated by older generation, Chiwanda said his triumph just proves that young people have not been left out in the issues of religion.
“I believe that I exist for a reason and one of them is to serve God and so when I saw this competition I felt challenged to participate and I am glad that my essay came number one. I love writing and so I believe this is a stepping stone for me to advance my writing,” he said.
Newa and Chizumila hailed Mawu for the competition saying it has given them the platform to shine and that now they have been motivated to go further with writing.
Father Muyankha described the competition as a good exercise and that it was very interesting to note that people did a research to prove the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“As Christians we need to understand the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Looking at the scripts you observe that some people sat down and did a research on the issue. There is however, room for improvement especially in grammar and structure of essays,” he said.
According to Mawu President Sambalikagwa Mvona, the competition received about 30 entries and writers had to answer the apologetics question: Did Jesus Christ really resurrect?
He said as Mawu they have several competitions on the ground but were lacking in other areas especially religion hence creating this contest to strengthen it.
“This competition is part of strengthening our religious desk which has over 60 members and this is also a contribution to the church. I am also happy in that the three top winners are young and this just shows that the youth are interested in Christianity,” said Mvona.
He added that this is just the beginning of the competition where they had to share the K100,000 but next year the prizes will go up as part of motivating more writers.
He said the winning essays will also be published into a book and that the contest was part of finding materials for the Religious Anthology
“We also want to make this point that the Church in Malawi has reached a mature stage and Christians in the country need to have their Malawian identity by among other things blend their own Christian text and literature such as hymns,” said Mvona.
Guest of honour during the competition Apostle Timothy Khoviwa, who is the Special Advisor to the President on Religious Affairs, described the competition as an eye opener to Christian writers.
“This is the right way to go for Mawu; we need more religious books written by our local writers. We need to encourage our writers to write about faith as religion is under threat. I therefore encourage Christians to continue writing and publishing and also appeal to Malawians to develop a culture of reading,” said Khoviwa.
The awards ceremony was spiced up by activities such as poetry. There were also consolation prizes for the other contestants.
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