Arguably one of the country’s most admired modern day poets, Robert Chiwamba is a household name. From the days of his chilling, but hugely popular poem Mudzafa Imfa Yowawa to the latest poems about youth empowerment, the artist always has something up his sleeve for his followers.
But for the past three years, the artist has not released an album save for a few singles.
Now he is back.
Titled Kuchokera ku Chanco ndi Kachirombo, Chiwamba, who has over the past few years established himself as one of the most unique poetic voices in Malawi, is set to release eight promotional singles this month.
In an interview, he said: “I will release eight promotional poems to the media first. The promotional poems will be launched on October 17 at Kwaharaba Art Gallery where I will recite them and then screen two videos from the album.”
He said he will then premiere all eight poems on Ufulu FM with Hudson Chamasowa during the Tsokwe Lapakamwa poetry show
from 8pm the same day.
“Finally, I will premiere the two videos during Breakfast Live on Times Television the following day from which YouTube and links for downloading will be shared,” he said.
According to the promotional CD cover, the album, which will have 58 poems, is “dedicated to public university students who are struggling/dropping out of school due to the inconsiderate fees hike”.
Said the poet: “Either public university fees must fall now or the poor must be cushioned. Education is a matter of life and death.”
He says the whole album is dedicated to that course despite the fact that there is no specific poem talking about fees in public universities.
So far, Chiwamba’s third album announcements on social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook have been met with enthusiasm from his fans.
“Timvere zimenezi basi, ine kudikila mwa chidwi, pa 17 ndi kutali man, mukudziwa kale m’mene ngini yanu timaifunila,” wrote one of his fans.
Pato Phoya wrote: “Where can I buy my brother? I also want the old ones.”
This is Chiwamba’s third album after Chanco Mu Nthawi Yanga released in 2012 and Kwa Mayi Chiwamba in 2015.
The poems to be released to the media for promotional purposes include Chosadziwa, Tikumva Kuwawa, Ndzakukwatira Magetsi Akadzayaka, Ku Ukwati wa Chibwenzi Chako Chakale, Mudziko la Anthu Okuda, Pano N’datenga Matenda and Kwa Wokondedwa Wanga Maria.
Arts critic Memory Tizifa said poetry in Malawi stands to grow only if fans are honest in giving poets feedback that can help them get better.
“Most of the times we just accept poets, but we need to have sessions where we as poetry lovers can give back feedback in a quest to improve the art. Otherwise, poets such as Chiwamba are good and can grow and make a name for themselves in the arts world,” she said.
Chiwamba came into poetry limelight with poems such as Moyo Si Wophweka and Mudzafa Imfa Yowawa, which were part of his first album.
The second album had famous poems such as Takana Mathanyula, Kukumbukira Zisankho za Unofficial 2014, Bp Yanga Yakwera and Ma Nickname which satirically argues against monikers that some Flames players are known for, arguing they are the reason for the national team’s poor showing. n