Vernacular poetry losing popularity

Malawi poets

The fairytale of vernacular poetry has taken another twist as its level of popularity is dropping beyond expectations.

Malawi is rich in poets who specialise in the commonly spoken Chichewa language. A combination of the budding and established artists in the industry is argued to be weakening every single day.

To make the argument stronger, there are hardly vernacular poetry shows these days as was the case in the past two years. The hype Chichewa poems had is also lowering on the part of the audience.

In an interview with Malawi24 on Saturday, renowned poet Robert Chiwamba agreed that vernacular poetry is not as popular as it was. However, he said absence of poetry shows these days does not explain the current state of affairs in local poetry.

“Much as I may agree, the hype that was with vernacular poetry is not the same, however the issue with shows is the same even with gospel music, secular music and drama. We are having lesser and lesser shows as compared to the last few years,” he said

Chiwamba underlined tough economic situation as the reason behind the disappearance of shows saying event organisers run the risk of low patronage thus putting their efforts on break.

Apart from Chiwamba, other masters of vernacular poetry are Benedicto Okomaatani Malunga, Nyamalikiti Nthiwatiwa, and Madalitso Nyambo. Their works continue to inspire the masses.
However, English poetry continues to enjoy popularity with public shows across the country.



  1. I FORESEEN THIS BEFORE. Now my words are coming true. I got into an argument with my friends when I told them that real poets especially vernacular giants are too handful. Felix Njonjonjo, Joseph Madzedze, Nyamalikiti Nthiwatiwa, Sylvester Kalizang’oma, Eve Pangani, Okoma Atani are the examples of true vernacular poets. Did I mention Chiwamba here? No! The reason is known, he is not fit into that wagon. The lest are just Rib Crackers not poets. So, people have now realized what a poem is. No wonder their status is going downhill

    1. On point. Aaa! others are just comedians. A chiwambawo kumati ndakatuloyi yachichewa, yachingerezi? The list u have mentioned in your comment Sir, amalakatula line osaziwa kuti akutanthauza chani Ili mikuluwiko

  2. If such is the case, I’m not surprised. Its fast becoming humor, full of jokes. A vernacular piece but full of English words, too plain( Olo mwambi, mkuluwiko Kapena chiphiphiliso)

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