Raphael Tenthani Series holds public lecture on feature writing

News   Chapter Banda & Mercy Garnet   October 1, 2018
PIC: Journalism veterans in attendance
The third edition of the Raphael Tenthani Series—an initiative by the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at The Polytechnic—on Friday, 28 September, 2018, held a public lecture on the art of feature writing.

The lecture, presented by a journalism and media studies alumnus of The Polytechnic, Mzati Nkolokosa and titled ‘Do Malawian feature writers achieve thread of continuity in their works?’ was held at the Raphael Tenthani Centre for Media Excellence, which is at The Polytechnic Chichiri Campus.

Nkolokosa used Chinua Achebe`s novel Things Fall Apart in his presentation as an example of good flow with thread of continuity. 

He said a thread of continuity is a concept of creative writing that makes a story flow from sentence to sentence, paragraph to paragraph, chapter to chapter and throughout. 

“Good writers have a tendency to end their story where it begun,” Nkolokosa said, adding that Achebe used different techniques to achieve a thread of continuity which included: place, date, activity and the use of related words.

However, while the audience agreed with some aspects of the presentation, they questioned why the presenter used the novel and not feature news pieces. 

Series coordinator, Temwani Mgunda argued that Nkolokosa would have used one of his best feature pieces or any well-written feature as a case study for his presentation.

“I would have loved if he used a feature and not a novel to demonstrate how feature writers can achieve thread of continuity in their works,” Mgunda said.  

A participant, Albert Sharra who is a prolific feature writer at Nation Publications Limited (NPL) conquered with Mgunda, saying the presentation turned into more or less like a literature class.

However, Nkolokosa argued that feature writing is a creative writing activity as such feature writers must employ all rules of creative writing as is the case with novelists or other creative writers.

A final year Journalism and Media Studies student, Blessings Saka, said the Tenthani Series presentations are very rich in content and that they offer great insights from those currently in the industry. 

“I have met the likes of Albert Sharra and Felix Mponda who are veterans and in due course, I am learning a lot from their experiences especially through the discussions at the end of each public lecture,” Saka said.

The lecture on Friday attracted different stakeholders who included Journalism students, Alfred Msadala who is a columnist for The Sunday Times, Ayami Mkwanda who is also a feature writer  at NPL, Dave Namusanya who is former arts editor at Times Group and Henry Mchazime, a former Business Editor at Times Group.

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