Mbenjere the vendor


Imagine a tomato vendor selling his merchandise while wearing a three-piece suit.

A vendor, clad in a three-piece suit, heckling a bare-footed customer to buy tomatoes, sweet potatoes, second hand clothes, or whatever legal vendors sell.

But, maybe, the “roots” of musician Lawrence Mbenjere’s tree tap into the waters of music.


You may be wondering, where is this talk about ‘tree’ emanating from? Okay, the ‘tree’ talk is premised on a Chinese saying which goes: “The falling leaf returns to the roots of the tree”. It could mean two things, namely, it is good to die where you were born or it can also mean that you will get back to the position you started from. Those who start off as musicians and stray into other areas such as church ministry have high chances of going back to music than those who have never had a brush with music.

In more ways than one, this is what happened to Mbenjere.

Mbenjere’s music career started in 1994, but his brush with fame came almost a decade or more later. By accident, Mbenjere was working on a demo at Mwai K Studio, Area 18, in Lilongwe. And, by accident, musician Charles Msaku happened to be passing by Mwai K Studio.


By accident, Msaku bumped into [not literally] Mbenjere who, by accident, convinced Msaku to listen to the demo.

By accident, Msaku had no other thing to do and, so, he listened to the single composed by Mbenjere. By chance, he liked it and, according to Mbenjere, “took me into his Alikutauni Sounds band and we started touring together”.

By accident, Mbenjere’s music career did not land into music lovers’ hearts. It had a kind of crush-landing and Mbenjere, as do passengers of a plane that ‘crush-lands’, had to get out of that music plane. And fast!

Hey, Mbenjere run away from the music business like nobody’s business. Like a thief let loose! People, those close to him [and this is my imagination] must have exclaimed: Mbenjereyo! Mbenjeroyo! Mbenjereyo!

But Mbenjere run still, without looking back! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Did Mbenjere not say it himself in The Sunday Times of February 19 2006?

“After seeing that my music career was not going anywhere, I stopped performing in 2002 and started business. I was going to Mzuzu to buy assorted goods for sale in Lilongwe.”

Little did he know that, by venturing into music in 1994, he had made music his roots!

Little did he know that, by moving away from music, he was only getting closer to music.

Why do I say so? Simple. The profits he generated from the business were invested in his first album Samugwira Pakamwa, which had the hit song ‘Chimwendo Kulemera’.

It is not surprising that it did not take long for Mbenjere to start raking in profits. After all, he does not hide the fact that he is not a fan of casual wear, pointing out that “I am always decent”.

Imagine a Mbenjere clad in a suit [reality] selling tomatoes [my opinion]. K20 apiece! K20 apiece!

Seeing a fella in a suit peddling tomatoes, customers would have felt like, ‘Ah, let’s buy from the fella in a suit. He should go home and take care of his garden”.

And Mbenjere the vendor, clad in a suit, would sale his merchandise like hot cakes!

And, aaaaah! How could I forget! He must have spiced his act, of selling tomatoes clad in an intimidating suit, with some dance moves!

The only problem would have been that he was calling each and every customer, male or female, sewere!

He would say, “Sewere, buy from me!” And throw his legs in the air!

Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! [Remember, each Ha! represents the 12 tribes of Israel].

It is good that, after “falling” down from the tree-of-vendors, Mbenjere is back to his roots: Music!

Where is the next album, Mbenjere

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