University of Malawi pro-vice-chancellor Alfred Mtenje has announced a writing competition in commemoration of the tertiary education institution’s 50th anniversary.
Mtenje, who is chairing the Unima Golden Jubilee steering committee, said the essay and poem contest is open to graduates of the country’s oldest university as well as other interested Malawians.
“The writing competition is one of the social activities marking the celebrations. Guidelines and deadlines have already been set and we expect the nominations to be in by June 24,” said Mtenje.
The linguistics scholar also revealed the battle of poets and essayists is running concurrently with another contest to come up with a flag for the public university established by an Act of Parliament in 1964.
Other works of art in progress include composition of a university anthem which will be played at all Unima events, including graduation ceremonies, said Mtenje.
“I don’t know why Unima doesn’t have that symbol to identify with. That identity has not been there, but it has to be there. We must be able to sing the anthem and fly the flag symbolising our unique values as the university for the nation,” he said.
Unima started as a small campus at Chichiri in Blantyre and its first intake on September 29 1965 comprised about 90 learners.
Presently, it enrols about 9 000 learners in its four constituent colleges—College of Medicine, Kamuzu College of Nursing, the Polytechnic and Chancellor College.
Estimates from the University Office show it has produced 40 000 graduates in the past five decades.
The population includes alumni of Bunda College of Agriculture which was weaned from the Unima family in 2012 to form the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar).
“We have agreed that Bunda will be part of the Unima@50 celebrations having been part of the family since 1967,” announced Mtenje.
A reunion of its sons and daughters, the Unima golden jubilee is a time to celebrate its achievements and reflect on the future.
Attractions include marches in all regions, golf tournaments in Blantyre and Lilongwe, dinner and dance galas in the two cities as well as Mzuzu and an international conference in September.