Celebrating World Poetry Day in Malawi, along with Professor Rubadiri’s poetic milestones,  Babishai Director, Beverley Nambozo Nsengyiyunva, was invited to Blantyre to train, empower and share success stories of poetry. Along with Associate Professor Mildred Barya, based in the US, TJ Dema of Botswana, Professor Gayle Brandeis of the US, Jumoke Sanwo of Nigeria, this group of experienced poets set Blantyre ablaze with their poetry and knowledge.

Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva, performing on World Poetry Day 2018 in Blantyre

Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva with Alfred Msadala , PEN Malawi President.

PEN Malawi, in honour of Professor Rubadiri’s 88th birthday organised a week-long training and poetry recitals to honour the great poet whose efforts still hold lasting impact world-wide. With strong roots in Uganda, Professor Rubadiri, now rather frail with old age, has managed, through his decades of teaching and writing poetry, widened imaginations of thousands of poets across Africa, opened discussions from both contemporary and traditional poets and successfully launched new generations of confident African poets.

During the trainings and workshops of this week of activities, young female Malawian poets, filled with enthusiasm and verve, shared their own experiences and apprehension with writing. Many had aspirations to become established writers; most acknowledged that the journey required mentorship, resources and time. Beverley Nambozo shared her own story of how she drafted her first novel by typing 1,000 words a day until she had completed 80,000 words. With writing, the most important requirement was for the writer to make herself available. If each poet availed herself to reading, practising, mentorship and consistence, then they would become far grater poets than they could have ever desired.

Grace Sharra, for example, agreed that everything around her inspires poetry. Her horizons have broadened. The Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation shared some of the lessons learned from starting the poetry programme. A few were, reaching out to as many poets as possible and giving them platforms where they wee able to shine and not be dulled.  Poetry mentors often fall into the trap of guiding young poets without actually listening to the essence of their art. From 2016, when Babishai expanded her territories ,with a new poetry-nature series, so many opportunities gushed down like manna.

Organising annual poetry-nature events from Poetry on Mt. Rwenzori, Poetry at Mabira Forest and Poetry at Sipi Falls, is as a result of listening to the heartbeat of poets in Africa. Most of them are strengthened from the natural environment that surrounds them, unhinged. This spectacular new series is catching on rapidly and there promises to be at least fifty registered participants for 2018, poetry at Sipi falls.

The Babishai team will also organise specific follow up trainings with the young female Malawi poets and in future, publish them in anthologies of African work.

Poetry is the heartbeat of words and phrases.

For details on the #Babishai2018 poetry competitions, please follow this link.


For details of the #babishai2018 poetry festival, follow this link,