‘I am still a servant of the people’


It has been a long winding road for musician Phungu Joseph Nkasa to be where he is today.

He has won the hearts of people with some of his songs but has also earned criticism from some quarters for some of his compositions.

Nkasa has stitched songs for different politicians, praising them for their works and one of them is ‘Mose wa Lero.’


This is a song in which he praises the works of former president, the late President Bingu wa Mutharika.

The song stands out today after being an anthem during Mutharika’s reign, when it used to enjoy airplay, particularly on State broadcaster Malawi Broadcasting Corporation.

In its early days of release, the song was bashed left, right and centre by the people, with some quarters saying he had gone overboard by coming up with such a composition.


But, as time went by, the song gained mileage.

This is not the only song he has done for politicians, as there are several songs. Just recently, he released a song defending former Agriculture minister George Chaponda.

But the song did not go down well with some quarters, who felt Nkasa had lost track and was only coming up with such compositions in order to earn cheap money.

The musician earned the nickname Phungu because of his versatility in speaking for the voiceless in his songs.

But the name Phungu has been devalued, especially after the release of some songs lately.

Nkasa has stood his ground, saying, as a musician, he has a right to come up with different compositions and that no matter how good he can be in working on songs, he cannot satisfy everyone.

The musician has been out of the limelight, especially when it comes to holding his own shows.

But he is slowly coming out although he still needs to do more to perfect his act to offer the best live acts.

It actually took me a great deal to interview Nkasa, but finally we got to talk.

With reggae group Black Missionaries on stage at Zithere pano in Mangochi, I found Nkasa in a minibus chilling out with Alleluya Band’s veteran singer Coss Chiwalo.

What do you want me to say to you? Asked Nkasa.

Chiwalo chipped in: He is a journalist and, obviously, he wants to learn more about what you have been up to these days.

Nkasa seemed not willing to speak to me. To him, he had nothing to tell me and all he could say was “maybe when I come off stage”.

It was later on, around 3am, when we were having this conversation. He accepted.

Nkasa maintained during the interview that he was still a servant of the people and worth to continue with the nickname Phungu.

But how does he maintain this name when he continues to sing propaganda songs with the aim of earning cheap money?

“I am still a servant of the people and I am still a voice for the voiceless and I will remain so,” Nkasa said.

The musician also said he was not a politician as regards some of his compositions.

“I am not a politician. If I want to do politics, I will do it. What I should say is that I cannot be at home and be in bad terms with, say, the government of the day. As a musician, I am there to sing what the government is doing and, so, I am just a spice,” Nkasa said.

He said he would remain a musician and that, to him, all he does is to perform.

“Just because I sing for the President or a Member of Parliament or a Minister is not a [convincing] reason to say I am a politician or rather I have lost track. I am still Phungu Joseph Nkasa and will remain so,” Nkasa said.

The ‘Wayenda Wapenga’ star said it was high time people refrained from wasting their time on petty things.

“We waste our time discussing petty issues while our friends are working very hard. China was way back, in terms of growth, but look at where they are today; they are ahead of us. The country is very rich and people work very hard,” Nkasa said.

The musician said Malawians must love their country.

“Let us work hard and let us not be jealous. Our families will only make progress if we work hard and speak well of them. You cannot speak badly about your family and then expect it to make progress. It is the same with our country; you can’t be speaking ill about Malawi and expect it to progress,” Nkasa said.

The musician said he was happy with the progress the country has made in the creative world.

“We still have room for improvement. We must keep on improving our work and not let people pull us down,” he said.

With over 10 albums to his credit, including Wayenda Wapenga, Tigwirane Manja, Kapolo Sakwiya and Ma Millionaire, Nkasa hailed urban artists for the work they are doing.

“For me, I do not look down on any artist, whether they are popular or not. I respect every artist for, in life, a musician or an artist who has made a name should fear the one who is yet to make a name— for you don’t know how he will come out.

“It is the same with a person who is rich; he should fear the one who is sleeping on a mat and is in a dire situation because you don’t know how he will come out,” Nkasa said.

The musician said he has fresh songs but is not yet ready to put them on the ground as he was perfecting them.

“It is always good to come out with the best and, so, I am still polishing them and I am also getting views before I drop them,” Nkasa said.

He said he was happy with the support which people have been giving him throughout the years and that he is where he is today because of this support.

“I am a musician because of the people and my name is way up because of the people. If there were no people to support me, I could not have been here and you could not have been interviewing me. I cannot impress everyone with my works and that is life but I am very thankful to those who have not given up on me,” the ‘Yoswa’ star said.

Nkasa has in the past been vibrant and he, alongside Lawrence Mbenjere, dominated royalties by getting millions.

“As I said earlier, it has not been easy. In music, you enjoy [life in] the limelight and then your form declines but what matters is not to give up but, rather, learn from mistakes. Remember, great things come after a falling, so long as one picks it up from there,” he said.

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