It has been a journey of 50 years so far. Yeah, a journey of life. So, as I strum my guitar here at Jacaranda in the heart of Mzuzu , I go back in time and space.
I vividly recall some historic artistic moments. I recall some memories of people who have inspired me in the creative industries. I also pay tribute to a lot of unsung soldiers of the struggle and martyrs of the motherland. I also pay homage to my ancestors whose spirits linger above and are my guiding angels. And most importantly to my God. Yeah, the Almighty God some call Him Jehovah, Allah, Namalenga, Chauta, Chisumphi, Leza, Mwari, Mphambe,Mulungu or Chiuta. To Him , we give all the glory.
As I strum my guitar here at Jacaranda joint, in the heart of Mzuzu, I remember my first creative piece being published on 6th July, 1983 in Malawi News edition. I remember the three copies of the edition that we got and the excitement the article brought in our house.
I read and read the piece with the zeal and enthusiasm of a budding writer. I did not think of anything else that week apart from the short story in the newspaper I had written. I felt on top of the world.
I looked at my poems. I recall how we used to critic these poems with Dan Masauli, whom we fondly called Preacherman. The poems matured. These were poems we wrote but did not publish.
We became more sensitive to our writings as we read more of other African and Black consciousness writers.
We started a journey of creativity. In our pursuit for artistic excellence, we met a lot of mentors on the path. We read books.
We listened to all types of music genres.Yeah, countryfolks. There were a lot of bands in our ghetto. We had Sounds Pentagon; we had members of MBC Band and Chichiri Queens in the hood. Yeah, we had True Tones, Love Aquarius, New Scene, Hot Fingers, Mr Wendyham Chechamba and Kudya Residence Band and just across our ghetto we had States Samangaya, Mr Isaac Mkukupha, Los Muchachos and Sounds of Paradise band. Robert Fumulani and Likhubula River Jazz Band were also in Chileka and of course Saleta Phiri in Ndirande. The Police Orchestra, Police Strings, Army Bravo, Kalimba, New Arrivals, Wa Mwai ndi Wamwai, Chitipi Capital Sounds, Masaka, Bernard Kwilimbe and Rain Seekers Band and many more in Lilongwe were also vibrant and an inspiration.
How can I forget the acoustic musicians including Dr Daniel Kachamba, Donald Kachamba, Lucky Stars, Josephy Nangalembe, Namakhwa Brothers, Stonald Lungu, Ndingo Brothers, Allan Namoko, Michael Yekha Smile Mbaula and many others. Yeah, countryfolks, Ndiche Mwalare was also in our ghetto strumming to us after alighting from his scooter, the only one at that time around us. I have strong memories of those days and sadly, they are gone with the wind.
As I strum my guitar in celebrating my 50 years journey so far, I recall the many theatre arts exploits. I remember Kamudoni Nyasulu directing us the masterpiece written by Professor Chris Kamlongera ably titled Chautas Wrath. I remember the numerous French oriented plays such as The Would be Gentleman. I remember Kamudoni masterpiece a satire and musical Last Bus to Chilobwe.
I vividly remember Du Chisiza jr and his revolutionary protest theatre classics. I remember those moments we were all living in fear of the one party state as we moved together. Our weapon being creativity and passion for the performing arts.
As I strum my guitar in celebrating my 50 year journey so far, am reminded of the cultural pursuit and exploration. I remember moving from district to district documenting and scouting for artists. I remember the formation of the National cultural troupe fondly called Kwacha under the Cultural Affairs Department in the Ministry of Education and Culture at that time.
I remember most of the adventures and the great people who inspired me and most of my comrades in arms.
I remember being part of history in Algiers, Algeria known as teh cultural capital of Africa attending the second pan African festival. Yeah, countryfolks this fest is only held after 50 years. I wish I will attend the third Pan African festival!
I would not forget the numerous Ethnomusicology gatherings in Tanzania and the Sadc cultural festivals too I have attended and performed.
The media continues to be my source of survival and inspiration. Yeah, being part of the founding member of the first ever public television station in the land that flows with milk and honey will go all the way in the annals of history and posterity.
The journey so far as I celebrate my 50 years of being in this world, playing bush, primitive, native, music of our ancestors on these traditional instruments which sadly though are fast disappearing is but a mission. Yeah, countryfolks, a mission and a calling for cultural preservation and promotion. Yeah, join me safeguard this cultural heritage by all means necessary as we live a legacy of our ancestors for posterity.
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