Billy Kaunda’s relief


With Richard Chirombo:

It is so hot— the political temperature; so hot that, as someone put it the other day in another place far away from Lake Malawi, one almost expires.

What else, other than some hot political temperature, can make my Dear Mama Justice Jane Ansah fume at errant party youths who were out to cause mischief the other day.


So mischievous were they, the youth, that, like a primary school teacher addressing ‘kids’ that have just ‘graduated’ from kindergarten, Dear Mama had no choice but to chasten them.

When Dear Mama opened her mouth, at a filled-to-capacity Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) on March 19, all I thought was: “Gosh, Dear Mama should not say, ‘You, naughty kids, do not attend my classes again’”. Ha!Ha! Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha !Ha!

But she said the right words and I was like. “That’s better!”


Especially when the naughty ‘kids’ were hushed into embarrassment.

I have recounted this story because, somehow, there is someone who has ‘escaped’ political situations like these [the BICC scenario]: Billy Kaunda!

The two-time parliamentarian was once in the deep waters of politics. His first dive – I am talking about first five-year term in Blantyre— was cautious; like a kid who, after opening a refrigerator stocked with two plastic bags of minced goat and crocodile meat, cannot make heads or tails. Mwana kuwopa kuwengedwa ndi ng’ona akatenga nyama yolakwika. Ha!Ha !Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha !Ha!

Still, he could not fancy his chances for a second term in Blantyre; and, so, he trekked to Mzimba, one of my favourite places in Malawi. Let me say that I like Edingeni because I once, in 2013, got lost there. But not before I crossed to the Zambian side to eat Thespesia garckeana.

Why are you wondering? Ha!H a!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!H a!Ha!

I will simplify things for you. I am talking about Azanza garckeana.

Still confused? Okay, I am talking of African bubble gum.

Still confused? Mukundiwonjezatu [you are over-stretching my patience]! [Ha!Ha!H a!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!

Let us put it this way. The fruit I ate on the Zambian border, which I reached by the mere act of jumping over dry grass, is matowo!

There! Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!H a!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!

Thespesia garckeana is an English name while Azanza garckeana is a scientific name.

That is not all. I was lucky on the Zambian side. A Zambian wasp stung me. An international wasp. How many of you have been stung by an international wasp? Anthu opanda mwayi [unfortunate you]! Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha! Ha!Ha!Ha!

Pray, and pray hard, that an international wasp should sting you.

In that land of international wasps and matowo [Mzimba District] — in one of the constituencies— stood Billy Kaunda as parliamentarian. His second dive into the waters of politics; just that this was a deep dive.

Billy had lost his innocence; his sense of caution.

Well, he won. And served five more years away from the bustle and hassle of Blantyre City.

This time in 2014 and 2009, Billy’s mind was busy dancing to the drums of politics.

He had no time for music; this time in 2014 and, before that, 2009.

All he could think of was politics. Like Dear Mama, he could think of politics this and politics that.

After his dive into the waters of politics, he crossed freely through the middle of the lake, let us suppose Lake Malawi, and ‘landed’ safely on the other side; the side that knows of nothing but music.

You know it well. Billy came here, meaning in our hearts and minds— where he landed safely— through music. Mwapindulanji, his debut album, was something else.

It made us part of the gravity, especially because property-grabbing was an in-thing then.

And, now, even when Malawians are preoccupied with politics now, Billy is back ‘at’ music.

Like, this weekend, he is at Kameza Round-about, otherwise wrongly called Chileka round-about, in Blantyre.

He will be ‘singing’ music, and not politics, at a time politicians are at it again; lost in the wave of the official campaign period.

Not Billy.

He can even ask, I guess: “What is politics? I do not eat politics. Fotseki!”

Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!H a!Ha!Ha!Ha!

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