Good people, a good dancer knows when to bow out. They leave the stage while the applause lasts.
This seems to be the art one-time bestseller Phungu Joseph Nkasa has not mastered yet.
The musician, who has dumped his enriching singing in pursuit of songs that praise some political demigods with money to splash for a song, knows all the adages under the sun but one of those that were supposed to teach him to know what he was supposed to do the day he outlived his welcome.
“It is always important to know when something has reached its end,” writes Alchemist novelist Paulo Coelho. “Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters; it doesn’t matter what we call it. What matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.”
The Nkasa Malawians once loved with all their hearts, minds and souls is no more.
Apparently, he was last seen the day the musician, who shot to fame with Mtima Mmalo, Njala and other hits, accepted to veer off the all uniting path to the point of churning out Mose Walero, the divisive hit in praise of then president Bingu wa Mutharika.
Afterwards, he has sang praise of Bingu’s successor Joyce Banda as well as Joshua for her successor Peter Mutharika.
Now, the musician, who seems to have found a niche in political tunes, is back on song. This time, he has weighed into the spat between people who want the incumbent to leave the throne to youthful Vice-President Saulos Chilima and those who think the president still has some steam to seek a re-election.
Absalom seems to be the lowest ebb for Nkasa. It divides opinions as much as it shows the artist cannot just keep quiet when there is politically transmitted money to be had.
On any day, Nkasa will never cease impressing listeners with his calculated adages and measured allusion to biblical tales.
But on Absalom he goes off-side when it comes to the imagery which forms the core of the song likely to be loved by pro-Mutharika supporters of the governing Democratic Progressive Party.
Forget the fact that Nkasa sings his loudest to relegate Chilima to a laughingstock even though the Vice-President has kept mum since the start of the battle for supremacy catalysed by former first lady Callista Mutharika’s assertion that his in law is too old to keep ruling.
Nkasa, in his wildest if not most spoilt imagination, likens Chilima to Absalom.
This is where he gets it wrong, very wrong.
The parallels he draws throughout the song fall flat when one remembers that Absalom actually told his famous father, David, point blank that he wanted to take over and he was even willing to do so by the sword.
Chilima is not Peter Mutharika’s son. No. The only children said to have been sired by the President, whose age has been in questions since he fell to the ground while planting a tree two years ago, are some two young women who flew in and out in a wink shortly after he had narrowly won the presidency in 2014.
Even as he does not carry any Mutharika’s blood in his veins, Chilima has not said anything about all the buzz about his suitability for the presidency which has divided DPP into loyalists and rebels.
He has remained silent like a dove yet to learn a morning song.
How such a quiet character can be likened to Absalom—who was not only determined to fight for the position he coveted but also went to war with his dad’s army to assert his do-or-die wish—baffles anyone who has read the rise and fall of David in the Bible.
One can only hope that Nkasa is subtly prophesying that Chilima will die in the middle of some battle for power as did poor Absalom.
Nkasa sings too much. He can sing wisely as was the case before his vocal chords were soaked by whatever political cakes he derives from singing praise songs.
If I were to advise Nkasa, I would quote Paulo Coelho again.
“Close some doors today. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because they lead you nowhere,” urges the Brazilian writer whose books have been translated into different languages.
Nkasa belongs to the stars, but he has slumped to the lowest ebb from where everything that wells up leaves listeners, especially his fans, asking themselves: “Shall our Nkasa live by singing praise of politicians alone?”. n