The literary world on Sunday celebrated yet another milestone when Pen Malawi launched an anthology titled Death of An Idea: Malawi Writing Today II at a colourful event at Jacaranda Cultural Centre in Blantyre.
The anthology is named after Ken Lipenga’s poem titled The Death of An Idea, published in 1974 when he was a student at Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi. It is a protest literary work against the political establishment of Hastings Kamuzu Banda’s era.
Thus, the launch drew academics, university students from Chancellor College and the Catholic University, seasoned and budding writers, literary critics and other members of society.
The audience mirrored the mix of writers who contributed their works to the anthology—featuring both the seasoned and budding writers with their works written in English and vernacular languages.
As different writers read excerpts from the anthology, an awe-inspiring sensation was felt among the audience that was visibly relishing every moment of it.
People beheld a panorama of Malawi’s literary history through the flipping pages of works by writers drawn from across generations.
“We are talking of people we have admired. Those we have sung before us. This anthology is addressing the issue of intergenerational gap of Malawian writers,” he said.
Thus, the book starts with the works of EJ Chadza and David Rubadiri among the first generation of Malawian writers, then the generation of Jack Mapanje, Frank Chipasula to Lupenga Mphande, Ken Lipenga, Francis Moto through Alfred Msadala and Zondiwe Mbano’s generation all the way to Zangaphe Chizeze and the present generation of Luckia Chikopa, William Mpina and Dave Namusanya, just to mention a few.
One of the seasoned writers, Lipenga, could not hide his excitement.
“I am particularly excited to see many young people patronise this event. It was well organised and lived to its expectations,” he said.
The excitement of Lipenga, who has also served as legislator and Cabinet minister, is summed up in a post he made on his Facebook page on Sunday at 12.59pm, just a minute before the ceremony started at Jacaranda.
“…and now the Mt Michesi Chronicles will continue after a hiatus to a hopefully temporary philistine climate hostile to the contemplation of the simple things in life.
“But first, we of Mt Michesi have a duty to attend the launching of a book titled The Death of an Idea, [a flattery undeserved but much appreciated] and to salute those behind this project.”
To the young generation of writers, the future is bright. At Chancellor College, budding writers are nurtured, says the principal, Professor Richard Tambulasi. n