Local Government and Rural Development Minister, Kondwani Nankhumwa, has encouraged women in the country to take up writing as a profession through which they can stop violence against women in any form, in any place, including the home, “because that is your human right”.
He was speaking on Saturday, April 21, 2018, when he was Guest of Honour at Malawi Writers Union (MAWU) official launch ceremony of the Women’s Anthology and award of the National Literary Awards, which was held at Jacaranda Cultural Centre in Blantyre.
“Maya Angelo once said: ‘I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels because life’s a bitch’. In the same vein, your writing should ensure that in your generation, women are no longer second-class citizens; your writing should ensure that girls take up their rightful places in our schools and colleges, at workplace and home,” he said.
The anthology of women, entitled ‘A Grafted Tree and Other Stories’, is a compilation of short stories by 21 female authors, most of who are young and college students.
Nankhumwa said he felt “like home” at the vent, explaining literature had always occupied a special place in his heart since primary school when there was no social media “and reading was our best means of release”.
“Indeed, we found fulfillment by reading novels authored by some great writers such as Chinua Achebe, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Ben Okri, the Pacesetters series and James Hardly Chase, among others,” he said.
Said the minister: “Literature is thought-provoking and allows us to ask honest questions that give us a deeper understanding of situations and issues around us. Through literature, we are able to have insight into the minds of other human beings, and to have an opportunity to further our education by continuously learning new things.
“Such is the power of the written word. It is sad that many people today, especially the youth, hardly ever read a book. Today, many of our young people have substituted books with Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter, a habit, which exposes them to dangers such as sexual immorality, online predators, or even cyber bullying.”
Nankhumwa thanked MAWU for “the commendable job it has been doing to encourage writing and reading culture among Malawians”.
“Since its inception in 1995, MAWU has complemented government’s efforts to mould an educated society and we are deeply thankful for the positive role MAWU has played over the years,” he said.
Nankhumwa, who is also Mulanje Central legislator and Leader of Government Business in Parliament, also expressed “Malawi Government’s deepest gratitude” to the Norwegian Government for the generous financial assistance rendered to MAWU, through HIVOS Malawi, which has made this event possible.
“Indeed, for over 20 years, the Government and people of Norway have been true friends of Malawi. Malawi has received generous financial and technical assistance from Norway in the areas of health, education, agriculture, rule of law and good governance, among others.
“On behalf of His Excellency President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika, Government and the people of Malawi, I wish to sincerely thank the Government and people of Norway, through Project Manager for Hivos Malawi Baldwin Chayamwaka, Deputy Norwegian Ambassador to Malawi, Bjarne Garden, National Literary Awards chief judge Professor Pascal Kishindo and MAWU president Sambalikagwa Mvona emphasized on the need to inculcate reading and writing culture among Malawians as a form of preserving national identity.
During the national literary awards presentation, journalist Chikumbutso Ndaferankhande was announced winner and went away with K1 million cash prize courtesy of FDH Bank Limited.
The women’s anthology was also put on auction sale. Despite being the highest bidder at K50, 000, Nankhumwa bought the book at K500, 000 “to encourage more women to venture into writing”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :