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Joseph Nkasa from the blues

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This time, more than any other, artist Joseph Nkasa’s words come slowly, if not hesitantly, as if he wants them to penetrate the rock of public suspicion and settle firmly at the heart of the heart.

In case that is not the intention, what else can one say after listening to the following lyrics?

Nkhani ya George Chaponda ikundikumbutsa mwamuna wa m’Baibulo uja kale kale/Abale ake anamuda namuponya m’dzenje/ Napangana chiwembu…/Pofufuza chifukwa chomwe anawalakwira/ Sichinapezeke olo ngakhale pang’ono/ Ponena amati bwanji mwamuna ameneyu akuyanjana ndi bambo wathu kuposa tonse.

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And the chorus goes:

Ndakulakwira chani mtundu wanga?

Mtima wako ukuwawa bwanji?

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Inu mutamva ludzu/ Ndakupatsani madzi

Koma lero mwandimwetsa ndulu

Chimene mukufuna/Unduna wanga uthe/

Malawi’we

Ndiyankhe tsonoli

Chifundo chinaphetsa msema-mitondo/Ndiwolotse ndikakutafune

Mwandisandutsa wokuba

Nkhani ya chimanga

Mwaimitsa

Mboni zonama

Chimene ndachiwona

Mtima wanjiru, kaduka Nsanje

Zakula M’malawi

Inu mutamva ludzu

Ndakupatsani madzi

Koma lero

Mwandimwetsa ndulu

Later, Nkasa becomes a history major by recounting how, on May 18 2016, George Chaponda travelled to Zambia apparently to secure a deal that would save Malawi from the pangs of hunger.

But— according to the artist— Malawians, and their courts, have turned against Chaponda.

In the last stanza, Nkasa issues a disclaimer, saying he has never met Chaponda and that he has just been compelled to speak out.

He says he is not afraid of sticking his neck on the nail, a metaphor for his willingness to sacrifice his own life for the ‘truth’.

The latest song runs away from Nkasa’s usual script. The artist is known for fighting for the poor.

Today, when the tide of public opinion is that Maizegate needs to be investigated, Nkasa has decided to pursue a lonely path that is, surely, likely to raise suspicions.

This is contrary to Nkasa’s latest 12-track album titled Kulira kwa Dziko which portrays Nkasa as a dreamer who witnesses a tragic fall of an imposing (probably a State) building in which lives, and (confidential) documents get trapped under the rubble.

Was this not ‘Maizegate’?

It is not new for Nkasa to issue a disclaimer.

He once told The Sunday Times, when asked if he had been hired to sing ‘Anenere’ in which he highlights challenges faced by police personnel in the country: “I was neither hired nor requested to sing about their problems. But when I journey from one village to another, from town to town, I see it all; dilapidated houses, miserable lifestyle and the list is endless. Even if you wander around, you will notice how our beloved policemen, the men and women who tirelessly watch over our lives and property, suffer and languish in silence.’’

What is clear, though, is that Nkasa’s latest song, which may as well be titled ‘Ndakulakwira Chiyani’, will stir hornets.

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