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Pamela Nkutha’s friend

Those were days when listening to a voice blaring through radio speakers was a miracle.

We would, in our innocence as youths, wonder: How did the speaker get into the radio set, tiny as it is?

It was a puzzle.

Well, maybe radio broadcasting was something else. Perhaps a miracle we would understand with age.

But this other thing called radio cassette. How could sounds-meaning voices, instruments and what have you-from a tape come through the speakers at the touch of a ‘play’ button, without the real artist being there?

In fact, how could it happen even when the artist was dead?

I could always feel that someone, somewhere, was playing with my mind.

Until my father, Leviano Simon Chirombo, bought a radio and cassette players before he died.

Actually, I do not know why he bought the radio cassette (radio plus casette) after my mother

had died two years before.

I wish my mum could have listened to the songs that would, in her eternal absence, be bombarding our ears.

Anyway. I will tell her about the songs we used to listen to, after she embarked on her solitary journey to God, when we meet again– as one poet said, “a hundred years from now”.

It is always “a hundred years from now”. I do not know why. Maybe because we still want to be here, on Mother Gaia, for a while.

That is why maybe, “a hundred years from now” has become stuck in our ears.

Enough of “a hundred years from now”.

When my father bought the family’s first radio-cassette player, he did not buy tapes of Malawian artists. Maybe because we did not have many.

He bought one tape, instead; that of South African songbird Pamela Nkutha.

Oh, Pamela Nkutha’s songs became a family anthem.

In fact, I would run away from Kalonga Primary School just to listen to Pamela Nkutha’s songs.

Since that time, I do not listen to a Pamela Nkutha song without shedding a tear.

Why? The one who bought the radio-casette went to meet his “a hundred years from now” watch. I don’t know whether it’s a wrist watch or wall clock.

But the watch did ring, at the arrival of the “a hundred years from now” is-now clock (I don’t know if I am communicating. But, then, Richard Chirombo is like that. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Hail the 12 tribes of Israel).

Why raise these points?

Simple.

I wish the one who bought the radio-casette and Pamela Nkutha tape were here to talk to his favourite artist Pamela Nkutha.

For I, the one who did not buy the radio-casette and Pamela Nkutha tape are able to chat with Pamela Nkutha.

On Wednesday this week, Pamela Nkutha told me: “God is wonderful. Now you are able to talk to the owner of the tape”.

Sorry dad. You had no chance to talk to Pamela Nkutha. She did not even know you. Sob! Sob! Sob!

But the relief is mine.

I reap where I did not sow (I did not buy the radio-casette and tape but I can talk to her). Sorry dad! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

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