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‘Smacking’ Lower Shire

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Their inscriptions on their faces — that is, if faces have any such thing as inscriptions— were those of wonder and bewilderment.

It was hot; so hot that, as someone once put it, one would almost expire. But this did not stop Sam Smack from jumping up and down and Ngabu Sports Ground. Even when it seemed relentlessly practical to quit singing and sit under a shed of acacias trees, Sam Smack danced on, a smile plastered on his face.

On their part, the audience, which comprised rural men and women, stood still in the sun, an indication that a friendly atmosphere was fragrant between Sam Smack and the audience.

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Here were people who, for the most part, hear of artists such as Sam Smack on radio. Some even watch them on television for, as I observed in Chikwawa, the fire of technology has been caught up in the wind of excitement in Malawi’s rural areas, so that, even in the remotest of areas, one is bound to find some people who are using solar power.

Such people power villages, keeping the rural folk in touch with Malawi. How? They charge their phones there. They run barber shops there, and all sorts of things that separate light from darkness.

But here we were, Ngabu Sports Ground, where those with television met those with no access to it. Those with radios against those who do not have. They were united by the string of Sam Smack’s energetic performance despite the hot weather.

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However, the audience had just been watching things unfold on the stage, without being part of the gravity. Maybe Sam Smack observed this, for, in the nick of time, he invited a chitenje-clad woman to the stage.

There was anticipation in the air. Sam Smack asked the woman if she could dance and, when she said yes, they started dancing— the kind of dance common during initiation ceremonies. Every 20 seconds, Sam Smack could smash into the woman with his waist, upon which the audience could laugh. And laugh aloud.

One old woman, probably between 50 and 70 years, was watching the goings-on on stage closely. Perhaps he got carried away for, the next time Sam Smack smashed his waist into the woman’s behind on stage, the old man was found to do the same to a young lady he stood next.

The old man must have imitated Sam Smack’s body movements for, people, including me, just heard a young woman shouting: Ndinu opusa! Bwanji mukundigunda ndi chiuno chanucho! [You must be foolish! Why are you pressing your waist against my behind?].

Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Each ha! for each tribe of Israel!

Well, the people laughed! Like at a soccer match, Sam Smack’s movements were imitated by an old man without Sam Smack’s knowledge. Had the old man known!

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