Lommie Mafunga’s sigh


Well, veteran musician Lommie Mafunga of ‘Baba Mica’ fame might have had good intentions when he composed the song ‘Bwato ndi Moyo’.

The song, in short, is a cry to Lower Shire residents who fear dry ground more than floods. Yes, I am talking of the people who, perhaps on the strength of the will to receive gifts from well-wishers, stick to flood-prone areas instead of moving upland.

Consequently, the story of floods in the Lower Shire has become ‘their’ story. ‘Their’ story because, year in, year out, they get displaced by floods and, when the floods subside, they take over the story, pleading for relief items and other things.


This behaviour, understandable in the Lower Shire but confusing to well-wishers, might have prompted Mafunga to compose ‘Bwato ndi Moyo’, in which the persona urges Lower Shire residents to move upland and learn to take care of themselves, instead of depending on well-wishers.

Well, it seems some Lower Shire people listened to the song, which is not surprising because songs are meant to be listened to. I say so because, two months ago, when I was in the company of Mafunga in Blantyre Central Business District, two people from the Lower Shire approached us and went straight to Mafunga.

“Are you Lommie Mafunga?” A bearded man, built as a tank, asked.


Mafunga did not answer. Instead, he looked at me.

“Hey, do you get us. Why can’t you answer my friend’s question,” the other person, who was wearing a blue overall, chipped in. He had a knife in his hands and I do not know what it was for. Maybe he was a butcher. Maybe he had just bought it. Whatever!

“ M m m m m ! ! Whimpered Mafunga.

“Hey, do not waste our time. Are you Mafunga or not?” The bearded man said again.

Mafunga had no choice but to say yes. In my case, I was looking this way, and that, hoping that I would see a stone I would pick and throw at the men.

“Did you compose the song ‘Bwato ndi Moyo’?” The other man asked.

Mafunga stammered. “Yes.”

“Useless!” Said the other man, before continuing: “I love that song!”

In seconds, the bearded man produced a K2, 000 banknote, gave it to Mafunga, and proceeded to wherever he and his friend were going.

You should have seen the relief on Mafunga’s face!

Now, that is what we call relief.

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