Mr Jokes the athlete


There is no room for a soliloquy for the likes of Mr Jokes, for every piece of ground they step on becomes a big stage and the artist the centre of attention.

No wonder, people followed Mr Jokes as he sold productions of Chambo the Great Movies in Limbe on Wednesday. He had, in his hands— I do not know whether they are soft or hard; I mean, the hands— a Public Address (PA) system. I mean, the simplified version of it; the kind you take around.

I am saying all this because seeing Mr Jokes do this made me remember something that was, surely, buried somewhere in the sand of my memories.


By the way, why does Mr Jokes, a celebrity of sorts, walk around in Limbe— arguably Blantyre City’s commercial hub— without being accompanied by bodyguards? If some so-called men of God walk around with bodyguards, when they are supposed to be fearless because kwathu sipadziko [we are just visitors on the earth], why does Mr Jokes, who has never claimed to be a man of God, walk around as a free spirit, unperturbed by any sound…

Wait a minute! Did I say unperturbed by any sound? Far from it. Mr Jokes knows the sound of money, even though others say banknotes do not make noise. Well, at least banknotes give out some ‘scent’, and Mr Jokes seems to understand it very well.

Call Mr Jokes from any distance in Limbe, and he is sure to turn up— so long as you indicate that you want to buy ‘Pregnant Man 1’, ‘Pregnant Man 2’, and other movies he stars in. Mr Jokes seems to know how to generate income from that old art: filmmaking.


And it seems rewards could soon be on their way to him, as one of his movies is listed among those nominated by M-Theatre’s judges.

Now, in Limbe on the said date, Mr Jokes was moving around with the PA system, a system that was guilty of noise pollution for, in a recorded message, Mr Jokes’ voice was breaking the monotony in the air.

Gulani ma filimu pano!” The message said something to this effect. Which, of course, is an improvement, as far as marketing gimmicks are concerned. In the past, perhaps thinking that buyers are thrown off their feet when they hear the name Mr Jokes, the actor and stand-up comedian used to sell himself [in the message] instead of selling the films he was selling.

A message could come out of loud speakers or PA system, the type he moved around with in Limbe, and say something like: “Tikugulitsa ma filimu pano. Mr Jokes aja ndi awa ali apawa [Get a copy of your favourite film here. Mr Jokes is right here with us].”

Well, every time I heard this, I laughed. I bumped on Mr Jokes personally selling DVDs of his films in Limbe [Blantyre] and Zomba [during the two years I made Zomba my home] and, every time, the message above was one of his marketing ‘tricks’.

Well, it worked wonders. Until, as it were, one day, when Mr Jokes was selling DVDs close to Zomba Mosque – actually, it was some 40 metres from Zomba Mosque. That is 16 months ago, or thereabout. Mr Jokes and his team were in a minibus, using their loud speakers to make all sorts of noises that, in short, could be summed up as an invitation message to film lovers. Suddenly, whatever tickled the fancy of Mr Jokes, he came out of the minibus and stood two metres from it. He had, I think, a DVD in his hands.

From nowhere, one of the mentally-challenged people in Zomba approached the minibus. Mr Jokes did not see him. When the ‘strange’ man was a metre from Mr Jokes, he made for the DVD in Mr Jokes’ hand, grabbed it, and started running away.

Had he known, Mr Jokes is a good athlete. He run after him, shouting siya pansi [drop it]. 10 metres or so later, Mr Jokes had caught up with the man, got hold of the DVD and, with a sense of relief, went back to the minibus.

You should have seen his stride. He had been victorious although the ‘strange’ man did not buy any DVD!

Good people, Mr Jokes should be competing in the Olympics!

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