The word poetry derives from a Greek word, poesis, meaning “making” or “creating.” If well crafted, poetry has the capacity of sending out messages which can change other people’s perceptions on scrupulous issues.
Edwin Frank Tadeyo, a Malawian second year student at Nanjing University of Science and Technology in China, has been awarded a certificate of acknowledgement for his poetry contribution to his school’s magazine.
The 25-year-old student from Kalintulo Village, Traditional Authority (TA) Mphuka in Thyolo District was trained in weather observations by the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services in Malawi. He joined Nanjing University in 2015, majoring in atmospheric sciences, and uses his gift of fiction writing to reach out with Christian messages to others, although it is restricted to do that in China.
“In China, sharing messages on Christianity is restricted. However, through my poems, I am able to connect with students and discuss issues of faith and impart messages on various topics to the masses. I have been given a column in our university magazine, said Tadeyo. The poet says he was first asked to publish a poem every fortnight in the magazine which named Lens of Poetry.
“But since I cannot write pure Christian messages on my column, I have been writing thought-provoking poems that end with questions that leave readers looking beyond the physical world,” he said.
He added that people go back to him searching for clarifications and it leads to the opportunity for him to explain his messages. Tadeyo, who is now president of Christian International Students at the university, says he writes poems in English and Chinese.
“Some Chinese students do invite me to a programme where they are introducing Christianity to fellow Chinese students. My role here is more of advisory to the leaders and I also get to give talks on basics of the Christian faith. God has given me the grace to serve in this way as i pursue my course.” said Tadeyo.
He said Chinese people are friendly and are eager to listen to people who respect their culture and values.
“They don’t like people who impose foreign customs on them. So God has given me the grace to understand Chinese culture and the source of their pride. I have written poems like Renminbi, Yangtze River, Take Me to Nuist, Bookworms and many more. These are poems about their own structures and culture so this opens more platforms for friendly cultural and beliefs chat,” he said.
Commenting on the development, Malawi Writers Union (Mawu) president Mike Sambalikagwa Mvona said it is inspiring that some young writers are excelling in writing abroad. He called on veteran writers to also keep writing so that the upcoming ones can learn the skills and contribute to the development of the country.
“Writing fiction is important as it informs the public about various issues happening elsewhere. These upcoming writers should be encouraged and I appeal to other young Malawian writers wherever they are to emulate this,” said Mvona.