His video went viral. Physically challenged as he may be, Talandira Kogoya has a big heart. It is that big heart that saw him getting recognition at this year’s slot of the Focus on Ability Short (Foas) Film Awards.
Kogoya is only nine, but he has already made it on focus. Of all limbs, only his right leg is in its form.
Yet, amazingly, the boy from Mkhumba Village in Phalombe does typically all that children with all physical faculties are seen to undertake. He writes. He undertakes household chores. He cleans himself up and so much more.
The video, shot by Malawi News Agency (Mana) journalist Sam Majamanda, documenting a few moments of Kogoya’s life made it to the top, side-by-side with Philmon Kuipa’s documentation of activist for people with albinism Overstone Kondowe won spaces in the slot that is run in collaboration with the Nova Employment. Wailesi Taimu earned a prize for No Inability in Me, while the Dzaleka Film Makers got to the top as well.
The four winners got $2 500 (about K1.8 million) in total for winning video and actor.
Kogoya was over the moon: “I am happy. Very happy. I have dreams that I want to attain. I know this is a step in that direction.”
If Talandira was happy, his father Laston was happier. “This boy does us proud. He is a star performer in class, against all odds. This award means so much for us.”
The awards attracted 26 short films, with over 2 000 people voting to see the four winners on the spot.
For Foas founder MacDonald Nyirenda, the awards continue to grow.
“We are growing. Malawi was the most represented in the Focus on Ability Festival that has been held since 2009. Apart from the online voting, a string of professional judges also worked on the selection of winners,” said Nyirenda.