Counting the list of poets who are making headlines in the country, Raphael Sitima of Chala Changa fame, will likely not miss the Top 10.
Just like other popular poets, he is always among performers at many poetry shows nationwide. And this Sunday, he will be performing at Macheza Alakatuli event at Blantyre Cultural Centre (BCC).
Sitima is not only popular for his not-to-be-missed poems but also his costume in which he dresses like an old man during many shows.
Most of his poems revolve around love and hardships.
Sitima began his poetry journey after drawing inspiration from poets such as Benedicto Wokomaatani Malunga, Laurent Namaraka, Goerge Chingeni and Gospel Kazako.
“By then, I used to listen to Nzeru Nkupangwa programme on Radio 1 which introduced me to different techniques of reciting poetry,” said Sitima.
He composed his first poem Tsiku Lina Lafika which he recited at the end of the school term. He made first impression with the poem and earned himself a nickname Gospel Kazako.
Sitima’s poetry exploits reached heights while at Mulanje Secondary School where he was introduced to many people including organizations.
At one point he recited at the official launch of Masaf 3 project in Mangochi, which was presided over by former president Bakili Muluzi.
“I received K27 000 for reciting at the event. The money made a huge difference in my life,” said Sitima.
In 2004, he met the late O’brien Nazombe who introduced him to Patsinde poetry programme on Joy FM. Nazombe also assisted him on his first poetry album which did not materialise.
Sitima released his official poetry album called Kalata Kwa Jailosi in 2011 which did not excel on the market. But it is his 2014 Chala Changa album which catapulted him to fame.
In July 2015, he scooped the second position in a poetry competition called Msalangwe Ya Ndakatulo sponsored by United General Insurance (UGI) in conjunction with Times TV.
Currently, Sitima, who is a nurse at Mulanje District Hospital, is working on the Chala Changa DVD.