One undisputed gifted musician that Malawi was blessed with is Joseph Nkasa. The artist is a fine weaver of lines, a flexible user of the vernacular language which he transforms into powerful verses when he is composing his songs.
For all his undeniable ability, the man from Mayaka in Zomba has yet to find himself and where he stands, not as a musician but as man.
Nkasa just like any other citizen, cannot and must never be denied the space to air out his views and opinions on any particular issue be it social or political. As long as it affects the environment in which he lives in, then he is entitled to have such liberty.
Whether the opinions are right or wrong, popular or otherwise Nkasa has to be heard when he speak.
Men who are in the arts live with a privilege that many ordinary citizens only admire from a far. The artisans have a readymade channel and platform which they use to relay their feelings and opinions.
Dramatists can come up with a play and transmit their perceptions as they so deem fit in that manner and mode. Musicians as well can bury all what is in their minds in a song and the audience will fully consume that.
For all this given freedom comes a question of electing one ideology that you can stand for, fight for regardless whether the sun rises from the west and sets in the east or vice versa. If one is able to stick to this seemingly simple unwritten rule, he earns the respect of the majority.
Unfortunately for Nkasa, the man who has made Malawi dance for long to his mind provoking verses, this is one virtue that has always deserted him with shameful ease.
As one person who has time and again veered into politics with his creative work, Nkasa was by now supposed to have chosen either to stand for the left or to stand for the right. But alas! Nkasa blows cold for politicias. Today and tomorrow, he blows hot for the same.
He has sung for and praised almost each and every politician worth of note in the country’s political arena. The audience has been left wondering as to what is in it for him. Does he really present himself as an intermediary who fights for the general good or it is for self-benefit?
His twists and turns have left many followers of his music in a hazy maze which has in the long run affected his popularity. His unpredictability has left many people questioning his credibility.
His ever-changing colours have made him lose touch with those marginalised, those suffering various forms of injustice and the underprivileged who he appeared to identify with when he came on the scene.
The way he has handled his fame, influence and artistical privileges over the years has left him a changed man in the eyes of many who regarded him in high esteem. He needs to take time and invest some energies to rediscover himself, if not for the sake of his music then for the sake of the person in him. n
The author is a guest writer