He started his arts journey with music and then theatre before moving on to dance. He came back to music, but not for long as he was drawn to another component of arts—poetry.
This is where he has made a name for himself, garnering and commanding both local and international respect. He is Qabaniso Malewezi, better known as Q.
Having accumulated expertise in music, Q continues to gain ground in the spoken word sector. His debut anthology, The Road Taken released in 2012, was incorporated in the creative writing course at the African Bible College (ABC) in Lilongwe.
Now, Q has his eyes fixed on something new as his career takes another interesting turn. This year, he is releasing a poetry album.
“The working title is Authentically African. I feel being African nowadays is not as easy or as straight forward as it used to be. There are aesthetics of being African and then there is reality of being African, especially in the global environment looking at different influences which as young Africans we have grown up with and have come across different aspirations. It is a journey or an exploration of different complexities of being a young African,” he sums up his album.
The album, a first for the artist who turns 36 in September, will be a combination of his old and new poems.
“Not everything in the album will be new; there will be some old poems even some from my first anthology. It will be great to visit them and have them produced as an audio version. As such, there might be some slight differences with the written word to what I am going to put on CD.
“I have compiled a list of 16 poems so far which I am going through now. As I go in the studio and see how to approach them, I am finding myself removing certain things and some poems from that list. But I am looking at having between 14 and 16 poems on the album,” he explained. Safe recorded, the album will feature a number of local artists, including musicians.
Stated the poet: “One composition called Monica’s Secret which is in the first anthology, I featured musician Peter Mawanga, there is Heavenly Bodies, a love poem I did for my wife Bridget which I did with George Kalukusha. I have approached Lawi to collaborate on for this album.
“I have briefed a Norwegian singer and songwriter that I want to engage and do a poem with. Other than that, I will have some of the poets from my Project Projekt intuitive like Yolanda, Jededai and Alex who will make an appearance on the album as well,” Q mentioned.
A combination of a couple of things has motivated the poet to come up with his first poetry album.
“Finally, I am giving in to pressure that has been coming from people. Initially, I wanted to put out anthologies only. But I guess having performed my spoken word, read my written work now it is time to put together an audio package. I am also implementing those ideas I have had in my head,” he said.
Q has had prestigious international performances at events such as Sadc Artists Against Aids Festival, Poetry Africa through Blantyre Arts Festival, Harare International Arts Festival and Word N Sound Poetry Festival in South Africa. He is also the recipient of the Poetry Association of Malawi’s award for Best Performance Poet.
“My journey as a poet has been extremely exciting, going up and down the country and the rest of the continent, performing, attending workshops and seeing where Malawi is poetically.
“My efforts have contributed to putting Malawi somewhere because as a country, we are not really known for our arts like Zimbabwe and South Africa, for example. I got a wonderful reception at Poetry Africa last year, the complements are always gratifying and encouraging,” stated the artist. n