BY SAM BANDA JNR:
After debuting at Blantyre Cultural Centre in December last year, the Warm Heart Poetry Festival is back with the second edition set for Robin’s Park in Blantyre on Sunday afternoon.
This is a Sunday when Blantyre will be awash with events, including a political rally at Njamba Freedom Park, a few metres from Robin’s Park.
But organisers of the festival have said they planned this long time ago and would not change.
One of the organisers, Sylvester Kalizang’oma, who is a well-known poet, said the festival was here to stay.
“We have a lot to give out to people, in terms of poetry, through this festival. It’s a one-day festival but very rich and different from a show. We have a salivating menu that will give the audience a sumptuous meal,” Kalizang’oma said.
The ‘Unkalindanji Moyo’, star, who is driving the one-day festival alongside poets Hoffman Aipira and Babangoni Chisale, said they introduced Warm Heart Poetry Festival after observing that Land of Poets, run by Poetry Association of Malawi ( Pam), was no longer in the picture.
“We are not, in any way, in competition with Poetry Association of Malawi but we noticed that they were not forthcoming with Land of Poets Festival. So, we had no choice but to create the Warm Heart Poetry Festival,” Kalizang’oma said.
Kalizang’oma, who is set to perform alongside Aipira and Chisale, said they held the festival in December last year because they were launching the event.
They also wanted to give a chance to Pam to hold Land of Poets in July, he said.
“You may recall that Pam has been running Land of Poets in July. As such, we did not want to disturb them but, as things stand, it seems there is nothing on their table and, so, we have decided to be holding Land of Poets every July,” he said.
Having decorated veteran poet Alfred Msadala last year, organisers will this year recognise the late Michael Sauka, composer of the country’s national anthem.
“We decided to honour the late Michael Sauka, who composed the national anthem. He was born in 1934 and died in 1990. He is one of the people who should be remembered and not forgotten because the national anthem is still being used,” he said.
Kalizang’oma said the late Sauka’s wife and sister will be present during the festival to receive the award.
Running under the theme Magic of Words and Power of Reasoning, the festival, which is sponsored by Bayete Naturals Nutri-therapy, will feature poets such as veteran Benedicto Wokomaatani Malunga, Hudson Chamasowa, Luckier Chikopa, Yankho Seunda, Mada Nyambo and Michael Benjala.
The others are Ackson Ngalande, Ian Tambala, Samuel Joseph, Esnart Tambala and Tito Mkumbila.
Apart from poetry, there will be performances from Agorosso and Chichiri Cultural Troupe.
One only hopes that, after last year’s lessons, this year’s event will be free of avoidable errors.