A huge audience descended on Blantyre Cultural Centre (BCC) on Sunday afternoon to sample a poetry feast dubbed Chiphwando Cha Ndakatulo which was spiced by a performance by renowned comedians Eric Mabedi and John Nyanga alias Izeki and Jakobo.
This was a landmark gathering that proved that poetry is fast gaining ground in the country attracting a gigantic audience even with a soccer match involving Bullets FC and Mafco at Kamuzu Stadium just a stone throw from BCC.
As this was not enough, the audience was left in stitches with performances by three artists Frank Naligonje, Snowden Tembo and Kenwood Sambalika, who once again shared the stage rekindling memories of the country's former heads of state Bakili Muluzi also known as Atcheya, late Bingu wa Mutharika and Joyce Banda.The three took the audience which was full to its capacity with others climbing trees to watch the performances on stage down memory lane as they imitated the three presidents in speech and dressing.
Before the three stormed the stage, the afternoon started with poetry which was the main headliner with poets Joseph Madzedze, Sylvester Kalizang'oma, Robert Chiwamba, Samuel Joseph and Yohane Pangani among others, reciting their poems.
Pangani is slowly growing his wings in poetry and the 13-year-old was impressive with his poetry pieces. The boy, who is currently in form 2 at Soche Hill Secondary School, seems to be conversant with current issues which he has utilised to come up with his poems including the floods which have hit many parts of the country.
Chiwamba was also the toast of the moment dishing close to four poems including 'Uzafa Imfa Yowawa,' which the audience requested while Samuel Joseph also had his share with one of his poems hitting at 'prophets.'
Izeki ndi Jakobo also won the hearts of the audience with some branding them 'Kings of Comedy' and that their names will never die.
The duo seem to be putting their comics back on the right track as witnessed on Sunday when they took the audience on a journey of their comedies, some of which were done a long time ago but having taken a break, their comics had the freshness.
They however, still need to do more to bring more new comics if they are to sustain themselves but they were on point and left the stage as people were still demanding for more.
While the audience felt all the entertainment and fun was gone, they were in for more with the performances of Naligonje, who plays Atcheya, Tembo who stars late Bingu but is known as Mr Malawi and Sambalika, who plays JB and is known as Aunt Geti.
Atcheya was the first to come on stage and his entry was special as people came putting up a red carpet as well as mounting a Malawi flag. He then appeared with pomp with a United Democratic Front (UDF) handshake followed by his entourage as the national anthem played.
The audience cheered him on but the biggest surprise of the day was when Atcheya started distributing K50 notes to the people. People scrambled to receive the K50 notes as musician Lucius Banda's song 'Yellow' played in the background. This was creativity at its best.
Atcheya donning a grey suit with a yellow necktie and socks, then walked to the stage before he started speaking. His voice was on point resembling that of the former president and he had people laughing when he introduced his entourage starting with the First Lady 'Anazimbiri' currently a Member of Parliament and then his son 'Atupele', currently Minister of Energy and Mining in the present government.
Mr Malawi followed later and he too was on point in his dressing as well as speech. He spoke like the late Bingu wa Mutharika attracting applause from the audience.
Sambalika is a young man but he has mastered the female voice of JB. He scored marks as well including dressing like the former president.
"I am impressed, my afternoon is well spent. I have loved the poetry and this young man Yohane, he has a future and then the three guys imitating the former heads of state. It's really fun reminding us what these people used to do. They have more to offer us and they just need to do more research," said an art fan Baxton Kalimbakatha.
Actor Frank Yalu said it was time the corporate world started helping talent stressing that the poetry gathering has proved that there is talent in the country.
Organisers Bleep Revolution said they were impressed with the turnout and that they will continue to give Malawians surprises.
"We want Malawians to have maximum entertainment through such events. We did not anticipate such an audience but this has proved that people love poetry and comedy. Next we are taking this event to Mzuzu in May," said Blessings Cheleuka.