Making music is surely not an economic decision for most local artists who are continually exploited by political leaders for their ideas and labour.
Somehow, the artists exploit themselves for getting involving in politics.
Joseph Nkasa will always be Joseph Nkasa. His name resonates well with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). He must be really impressed with the DPP government.
Nkasa’s song, ‘Mose wa Lero,’ a political praise song for the late Bingu Wa Mutharika started it all. Since he released his last album, he had been silent until when the Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, George Chaponda, was implicated in the former Malawi-Zambia Maizegate deal.
When people least expected his comeback, there he was with his new single, ‘Ndakulakwira Chiyani?’ Despite confessing in the song that he does not know George Chaponda, the talk was that he had been bought. Whatever his reasons were, his sweat has gone unnoticed as the former minister lost his glory.
The leaders exploit powerful political tools— the power of image and voice. These techniques, in fact, were even used in ancient world.
Margaret Chiponda, who composed the songs ‘Sendera’ and ‘Pan’gono ndi Pan’gono’ for the previous DPP government, said she did not realise that her talent can pay her handsomely.
“Basically, I composed the songs for the love of the party and because I was requested to. There were no payment arrangements for the songs,” she said.
Chiponda argued that political party women’s talent is not exploited by political leaders since they compose the songs because of dedication and sense of belonging.
“After I left DPP I joined People’s Party where I also composed songs such as ‘Mayi Banda Musadandaure’, among others, not because I was forced to but because I wanted to,” she said.
However, even though Chiponda left DPP, her songs were still sang, an initiative that could have benefited her through moral reproduction. But, that was not the case.
Balaka-based musician, Lucius Banda, said political leaders do not exploit musicians and in instances where one is exploited, it is the artist’s fault.
“Whenever an artist composes songs for political parties, there is always an agreement of how much he is going to be paid. Thus, it’s up to the artist to charge the political leaders the amount of money he desires,” he said.
Moreover, Banda argued, an artist in the process of making himself famous and provide music to his people, becomes an automatic brand worth using in terms of marketing other products, political campaigns and other kinds of promotions.
“Most artists benefit more from these initiatives than recording their own music. For instance, I made almost K6 million for composing one song ‘Yellow’ a political praise song for UDF,” he said.
Banda admitted that it was his first time to make such an amount for one song.
“I have never made such kind of amount for one song so, I believe I was not exploited but rather benefited,” he said.
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