Claim Mabuku Limited on Friday launched a short story and nthano contest for secondary school students as part of their golden jubilee celebrations.
The publisher and book retailer’s general manager Andrew Chisamba said the contest is in line with Claim’s 50 years of promoting reading and writing.
In the contest, students are supposed to submit their stories to their headteacher, who will send four best stories to the organisers by March 31. The students are expected to write a Chichewa short story on the topic ‘Ngati kumaloto’(it is like a dream) and an English short story ending with “the students discovered that reading is very useful to their future”.
“Awards will be given for winning short stories and nthano at junior and senior levels. We have academic and Christian literature and as part of our celebrations for these 50 years of publishing, we thought it wise to have this competition,” said Chisamba.
He said the chicken-egg question on whether the absence of enough reading-for-pleasure books has contributed to a dwindling reading culture or vice-versa can be dealt with by such competitions.
“When students write more, they read more. We understand that the youth are our future authors of quality books,” said Chisamba.
Ministry of Education, Science and Technology director of secondary and distance education Chikondano Mussa welcomed the competition, saying it will improve Malawi’s literacy levels. This, she said, comes against the background that the Southern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Education Quality (Sacmeq) set Malawi as one of the countries with low literacy levels for children in their sixth grade.
“The competition will leave a nation-wide impact in developing reading and writing skills. It is a way of recognizing and appreciating the talent in students. Reading and writing is an integral part of their intellectual and academic development, which is vital for their future,” said Mussa.
Winners in both categories will get K100 000 cash, and K100 000 Arise secondary school books published by Claim for their school library. The runners-up will get K50 000 each and Arise books of the same amount for their school library while third-placed will get K25 000 and books of that amount for their school library. n