When poet-cum-radio personality O’brien Nazombe pioneered a poetry programme between 2009 and 2010, little did the poetry fraternity know that today almost every radio station would have a programme dedicated to poetry.
When the late Nazombe also set up a poetry recording studio called Namanyonyolo, little did he know that the move would spur a movement.
From the time of poets such as Benedicto Wokomaatani Malunga and Gospel Kazako, there came a time when poetry was almost on the deathbed.
Poet Deus Sandram attests to this: “There was time when poetry was a shunned industry whose slow growth could not spur hope or confidence among creators.”
He adds that music and drama were preferred and used to attract patronage.
But amid poor reception and attitude towards poetry, Nazombe passionately pioneered and steered a poetry programme on Joy FM until his death in 2011.
Poet Kenneth ‘Amfumu’ Khondiwa describes Nazombe as a pioneer of contemporary poet who contributed to the growth of the poetry industry.
He said five years ago poetry was not popular in Malawi, but Nazombe worked tirelessly to push the industry.
“It was like a joke when Nazombe began to give poets a platform through a programme on Joy Radio. This helped most poets to promote their work and began to establish an audience of their own,” said Khondiwa, who recently launched his Anaponda Ndimapazo Satana poetry album.
Today, six years since Nazombe’s death, there are several poetry programmes on different radio stations, including one on Times TV.
MBC Radio 2, Ufulu FM, Joy FM are some of the radio stations that have created poetry programmes.
MBC Radio 2’s Raymond Sekeni aka Fraternal DJ said the station came up with Mavume Alakatuli to give a platform to poets to promote their talent.
“Mavume Alakatuli is solely a platform to promote the poets to reach their audience across the country. The programme has received overwhelming response from both poets and fans,” said Fraternal DJ who is the presenter of the poetry programme.
Today, poetry has soared, seemingly overriding drama.
Even music artists are failing to defy the rapid wave of poetry to the extent that poets are being featured in music shows today.
There is also mushrooming of poets that are making impressive inroads in the industry.
Robert Chiwamba, Sylvester Kalizang’oma, Yohane Pangani, Q Malewezi, Frank Naligonje and Wamtali are some of the poets that have taken the country’s poetry by storm.
Chiwamba said there is a tremendous improvement of poetry as far as its recognition and representation is concerned in the country.
“I must admit that poetry has received an impressive recognition for the past five. I partly attribute this to hard work and support media houses have rendered to the industry and poets,” said Chiwamba, the Takana Mathanyula controversial poet.
He added that a grounding breaking website for poetry was underway to promote poetry online.