Song for Ralph


Iwe uli kuti? Suyimba lero?’’ Raphael Kinn L Tenthani’s voice. Yeah, the voice of one grandson of the pen, a revolutionary writer, a fearless journalist, a simple and humble personality, a columnist extraordinaire, a chief Goebbels in our fraternity resonates with new aspiration.

Ralph sits at that corner in Sportsman’s pub armed with his laptop, a bunch of newspapers, a novel and a glass of wine. Listening, to the din in the pub. Writing his column for the weekend edition. And of course asking where are you in his usual manner; iwe uli kuti?



The journey may be long. The journey may be short. After all we are on this journey of life. The journey takes us to Lilongwe. We are hatching the idea of Lingadzi Writers Club. We meet under the tutelage of Papa Frank Ndhlamini Kamwendo and Mike Nambote. We are supported by top notch artists, academicians, writers and journalists.

We meet. We discuss issues. We call ourselves by names as Ma Goebbels. Taking after Joseph Goebbels himself. We are a generation of journalists and writers who fear no one. We take it upon ourselves to write. Yeah, country folks to write the truth under whatever conditions.

We move towards the future with our pen and paper. Writing. Some of the Goebbels move to other professions as this career seems to be paying peanuts. Yeah, country folks, you heard me right. The movement gets infiltrated by some over- zealous journalists who sale us out to the system.


Our meeting place is off Chilambula Road. Then we move to the Court. Yeah, finally we land at the National Library, City Centre. But we have been walking all along.

There is George Dambula, there is Drake Chinthambo, there is Willie Zingani, there is our chief Goebbels Kainja, alas there is also the Reverend among us. Yeah, this Reverend Longwe, turned politician.

What do we eat for lunch? There is no piece of bread today. We read all the newspapers from front page to the last back Sport page. We analyse the articles. We move on, back to our ghetto. Full of wisdom.


Iwe uli kuti? Yeah, the voice of Ralph sitting at the corner in Sportsman’s joint. The music is getting louder too. The patrons are the same serve for a few tourists. Yeah, there is brotherhood in this space.

I join them to play a song with the resident band. They call themselves Super Boys Band but in true essence they are not boys! These are men.

Ralph asks. “Iwe uyimba?’’

I pick up the guitar. I play an old song. Ralph’s choice of music is difficult to define. He listens to jazz, pop, classic, blues, rock and roll, gospel, fusion, Afro beat and rhumba.

But this fearless writer sitting at the corner of this pub. What does he think? How can he be writing his column under such circumstances and conditions? Does he draw his inspiration from all these people, the music and the flickering lights?

This fearless journalist working for reputable media organisations such as BBC radio reports from this corner?

Forget his dressing. Yeah, his sandals and shorts. Forget his simple appearance.

He is writing exactly what the common man in the streets is talking today. He is challenging the system without fear or favour.

He is telling the authorities to be answerable to the people. He is warning them not to take people for granted. He is calling for transparency and accountability.

Then Ralph says . “Iwe unditenga? Ukandisiya pa Kamba!’’

I wonder if the column is ready. Yeah, countryfolks. The column is ready for the weekend edition.

We drive towards Manja. As we pass Naperi, he beckons.

I thought it’s late Goebbels?

‘’ Aah Iwe undisiye pano!’’ the voice of the genius. The voice of the revolutionary writer. The voice of the fearless journalist. The voice of one Raphael Kinn L Tenthani still echoes in this valley in the Warm Heart of Africa, Malawi and of course beyond our borders.

I salute you, Ralph.

Wagwa kachere, waduka lende. May your Soul rest in eternal peace.

Aluta continua…

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