On Wednesday, I found myself in the company of musician Patience Namadingo, his manager Peter Mazunda and fellow journalist Brian Itai as we travelled to Lilongwe to meet 26-year old musician and student at Music Crossroads Malawi – William Kachigamba.
Kachigamba is a musician with albinism and was diagnosed of cancer.
He stays in Area 23, just close to Music Crossroads Malawi premises and our drive there saw us being directed by Mozy Moshu Shumba, who happens to be Kachigamba’s teacher.
Putting on a suit, Namadingo finally met Kachigamba at his home for the first time and it was Kachigamba’s sister, Patricia Matandika, who welcomed us.
She later arranged chairs for Namadingo and team but the “mash-up” specialist requested that he sits on a mat with Kachigamba, who joined later.
Kachigamba is really in pain. He has a wound on his mouth and he has to cover it with a mask most times to avoid flies.
“I am happy to meet you Patience,” he said.
Kachigamba, who is a fifth born in a family of 10 has been doing music from a tender age and he went on to form a group with his colleagues.
Matandika described Patience as an angel sent from heaven after the musician broke the news that he had found the K3 million for her brother to travel to Zambia for treatment.
“We have tried on our own to raise the money but we have failed. We tried even applying for loans but we failed and so this is why I am saying you are an angel sent from heaven,” she said.
Matandika, who was later joined by her husband, said the problem just started like a pimple which later transformed into a wound.
“It was after we went to the hospital that he was diagnosed of cancer,” she said.
Kachigamba hails from Mvera Village in Traditional Authority Chiwere’s area in Dowa.
He did his primary education at Andrew Murray in Mvera and then Mvera Community Day for his secondary before going to Malawi Council for the Handicapped (Macoha) where he obtained a Diploma in Community Development.
“But he has always been in love with music and it was then that Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi asked him to go to Music Crossroads Malawi,” she said.
Kachigamba said he believes he will be fine and that he would want to go all the way with music.
“I am a fan of Patience Namadingo. I would want to go far. Now it’s a challenge because I am in pain but I will be fine and I am looking forward to flying the country’s flag with music and even have that chance of collaborating with Namadingo,” he said before singing his favourite song of Namadingo ‘Mapulani’.
As Namadingo was interacting with Kachigamba and family, neighbours could not help but to peep through the brick fence to have a glance at Namadingo, who was the centre of attraction.
And after finishing the chat, outside, Namadingo interacted with the curious fans, particulary children, who could not hold it but to sing his ‘Mapulani’ song.
Namadingo was impressed such that he joined to sing along.
Some women who had also come to see Namadingo could be heard saying “thank you for the support to Kachigamba and thank you for visiting us in Area 23”.
“Today it is mission accomplished, although we had raised the money, the key moment was to meet him for the first time. Listening to him, his plans and how he has been affected, I felt touched. I am happy to know his family too,” Namadingo said.
As an FDH Bank Ambassador, Namadingo, discussed with the family on the processes to be undertaken at the soonest for Kachigamba to travel to Zambia.
“The bank will work on channeling the money to the hospital, we also have to arrange so many things, the family has to look at who is going to go with him but we have created a Whatsapp group to discuss the process and all I want is for him to leave as soon as yesterday,” he said.
Before Namadingo went on a fundraising drive to raise the K3 million for the youthful musician following an appeal for help through a video clip he posted, the country did not know Kachigamba.
Kachigamba posted that he wanted assistance of K3 million to travel to Zambia to get urgent medical attention.
In fact some people on social media continued to ask more details about Kachigamba and which songs he had released.
He is simply not a well-known musician and he does not have more music on the market.
But despite not having more songs to his name, he is a musician who has potential and this is why he found himself at Music Crossroads Malawi, a music academy that has trained a lot of musicians.
Namadingo has earned himself praise from the whole country for taking up a challenge of assisting Kachigamba to raise the money.
The ‘Mapulani’ creator had never met Kachigamba and he finally met him on Wednesday afternoon to break the news about him managing to source over K3 million for him to travel to Zambia.
Namadingo raised the money on Tuesday when he took up a challenge of posing as a statue at the proposed Mahatma Gandhi statue site near Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre.
Having noticed that there was no statue at the proposed site, Namadingo decided to become a statue and then imitate what a statue does, including not eating and talking.
Despite the delay to start the assignment because he was waiting for a permit from Blantyre City Council (BCC), everything went on as planned for the musician, who earlier on before turning into a statue interacted with his team, friends and the media.
But once he took up the challenge, he did not speak to anyone.
He started the challenge two hours late by seating down and then ended it while standing around past 7pm and this was after he was told by Mazunda that he should come down as President Lazarus Chakwera had pledged to square off the rest of the amount.
Although the message from President Chakwera came in after he had already raised K3.3 million, Namadingo was all thankful to the President and all people for their support before he sat down on a pillar and sent in his thank you message to the world.
“Today watching us from home, in Malawi and across the world, today has been a very beautiful day, today you have made a statement that when you hear a call you can pick it up, you can help someone, the currency is love,” Namadingo said.
He said Namartists and his team, they believe that currency is love.
“William Kachigamba has been attacked by cancer in his mouth, he is in pain and so, I was just an instrument, a vessel to talk to you about his case,” the musician said.
He said he had thought he would stay for long at the place but he raised over K3 million in a matter of hours.
For Namadingo, he will not stop here, he will continue to assist wherever need be and use his talent to help those who are in need as well as speak for the voiceless.
On Thursday, the musician received a K1 million pledge from politician Atupele Muluzi.
“We are yet to calculate how much money we have received from platforms such as World remit and Moneygram among others. As a country, we can do more otherwise we so many challenges and so many stories to tell,” he said.