Legendary poet Wokomaatani Malunga will feature during the Storytelling Session in Blantyre this week as special guest, bringing a vernacular player on the platform for the first time ever.
The revered poet says for him it is almost like coming back home since he started off as a short story writer who branched off into poetry due to the nature of his job which did not provide enough space for longer stories.
“This will be an opportunity for me to remind people of what I used to do a long time ago. I started out with this genre and at heart I am still a story writer. It will also be an opportunity for me to interact with current writers,” said Malunga.
Traditionally, the Storytelling Sessions feature recitals in English, but an exception has been made for this month’s session which will take place under the theme Zinachitika Ku Malawi. The theme is in line with the continuation of the country’s Independence Celebrations.
According to the brains behind the sessions, Ekari Mbvundula, this has been made possible to allow artists to share their stories in a dialect from which their stories originates. The bringing in of the vernacular story, is one of the changes that have been made to this month’s session.
Mbvundula said: “It is an Independence month so there was no better way than to celebrate with vernacular stories.”
She said the writers were asked to come up with a story of any genre, past, present or future, fiction or non-fiction as long as it was based in Malawi. This was done to keep in tandem with the theme of the event.
“We have also changed the times of holding the event. We have slotted it in the afternoon to make it friendlier to those who use public transport as we felt the evenings were restrictive. Given the weather we also expect the daytime to be a little warmer,” she said.
Old timers Dumisani Moyo, Koleta Dama and Theo Manda will be joined by fresh voices of Temwani Mgunda and Khumbo Mhone. Only the guest speaker, Malunga, will recite in Chichewa.
Mgunda in an interview said: “The theme is somewhat broad. I sat down to select stories which I thought will best compliment the particular theme. I settled for an HIV and Aids story which captures the subject of one person living in self-denial. I hope it will conform.”
The event will be held at Jacaranda Cultural Centre (JCC) in Blantyre on Saturday July 28 from 3 pm.