Music as they say is a universal language. It is heard and appreciated in the smallest spaces possible and breaks language barriers.
If well packaged, music can be used as a tool to send out powerful messages which can effect social change.
Local hip hop star Fredokiss just seems to have found out the power that lies in the art that is music and riding on the wave of his growing popularity, he is full of energy to transform or even at least just to show his fellow youths how to make it in life.
Fredokiss, real name Penjani Kalua, has become one of few artists in Malawi to hold free music shows. The first one was held in Ndirande Township in Blantyre and a follow-up show was staged at Masintha Ground in Lilongwe two weeks ago.
The man, who is fondly referred to as Ghetto King Kong, commanded larger crowds in both shows and he believes the platform will help him impart a new understanding among the youths on the struggles they face in their everyday lives.
“I have always considered my music as a tool not for entertainment alone but to also address reality and the problems we face in our everyday socio-economic environment,” the 29-year-old wrote on his official Facebook page after the Masintha show.
The Ghetto King Kong feels a special affiliation with ghetto youths and he believes his music can amplify his voice and raise his platform to bring youths together to love and support each other.
“My brand is ghetto, from the ghetto and about the ghetto and it symbolises hope and possibilities. I want to be the change I want to see before my time ends and I believe I am a solution to a certain problem,” he said in an interview.
Fredokiss said he is in the business of changing mindsets and he has been encouraged by the response he has received from his fellow youths who he says, seem more than ready to embrace the change.
“As youths we should not wait for anyone to give us what we want. Let us take it upon ourselves, open our minds to do some things differently. Things that start with small steps are the ones which have a big impact,” he said.
The rapper is, however, apprehensive of the litany of challenges that the present social set-up is posing to Malawian youths and he is rallying them on never to give up.
“The current system is restrictive as it does not allow for full participation of the youth. It is suffocating the potential of the youth in the long-term narrowing the productive potential of the whole nation,” said Fredokiss.
On face value, the heavily tattooed and wild-haired young rapper can be dismissed as one of those good for nothing wannabes who lack a sense of direction and responsibility. But he has proved that he possesses a big and willing heart to make a change.
Under his Fredokiss Scholarship, he is helping needy students, both those doing secondary and tertiary education, to stay in school by assisting them with tuition fees.
At the moment he is working in collaboration with Luptech Malawi in facilitating scholarships for 10 deserving students who failed to make it to the University of Malawi to study various programmes in information technology.
“My soul is not young and that is where I derive my inspiration. It pains to see youths who have potential to make it failing to find their feet because somebody somewhere denied them a little push. Let us collectively work at changing this narrative,” said the rapper.
During the free shows there were mobile clinic services to allow youths access sexual reproductive health services and other platforms which were meant to allow youths to tap ideas to start small scale businesses.
The Unima graduate works for Pakachere IHDC as projects manager and he is currently doing his master’s degree in Public Health at University of Witwatersrand in South Africa.
He also does some personal businesses on top of acting as CEO for his entertainment stable Ghetto Gutter Entertainment. n