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Joseph Nkasa, Joe Gwaladi’s magic moment

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Joseph Nkasa, performing during the opening of Phalombe Teachers Training College on Tuesday, looked like a comedian: Oversized tinted glasses, a suit when he was supposed to offer patrons an energetic performance, and hair that is surely overgrowing.

And, then, when he performed ‘Yoswa’, that praise song for President Peter Mutharika, his dancers exuded more energy than the song required.

And, oh, that man Nkasa can twerk, even if it means twerking to nothing better than hot air.

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Whatever the case, I laughed my lungs out when I saw Nkasa dancing before the President and all who cared to watch the scene unfolding before them.

Now, the last time I attended a Nkasa show was in Ndirande seven years ago. Nkasa had to be brought to the venue as part of a promotional event. The organiser was none other than one of the opaque beer producers in the land.

Nkasa brought these ‘village-looking’ boys to dance for him then. Hey, they could dance to the sound of a conga, sending some of us could be in stitches. One of the dancers even jumped up and down as Nkasa shouted Ahoy! There were no instruments playing in the background. Just the sound of Nkasa’s Ahoy! And the dancer danced!

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That was enough to send people in stitches.

Back to the Phalombe event. When Nkasa left the stage [which was the back of a lorry, anyway], he paved way for Joe Gwaladi, Malawi’s Number One Philosopher [in the words of Associate Professor Edge Kanyongolo].

We all know Gwaladi. I mean, he has no sense of place.

Of course, Gwaladi, who was in a blue jacket, depicting the colours of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, knew that he was in Phalombe District. But that is not the sense of direction I am referring to. The sense of direction I am talking about is the self-awareness of knowing which song to play and which one not to.

Gwaladi started with a song in which a female persona cries foul after a man who has de-flowered her leaves her for the arms of another woman.

Gwaladi sang: Wandigwetsa mabere nde ukufuna kundithawa?

Gwaladi can compose a song, perform it several times, and still miss the lines when performing it live. Perhaps he is a master of improvisation.

As such, Gwaladi sang: Wandigwetsa mabere nde ukufuna kundithawa?

The women laughed. And, guess what, even President Peter Mutharika laughed.

I said, speaking to myself: Well, with all these strikes by primary school pupils, the frequent closures of institutions of higher learning, threats that support staff in the Judiciary plan to go on strike, the President really deserves this laugh.

It was his moment of comic relief. I saw 12 ha! in the President’s smile

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