In the shoes of Nepman

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or the past two weeks, Nepman’s orbit has been spinning at a supersonic speed. Clearly. It needed quite an effort to catch up and remain abreast with what has been happening in the music star’s world.

First, the social media was awash with fodder of his on-going spat with some Malawians who are living in South Africa (SA). Till now, nobody has offered a plausible explanation as to what really gave rise to this feud.

We have watched both camps exchange unprintable verbose, threats and counter-threats. The spectacle has almost had everything that one would mistake it for some poorly written script in a Nollywood movie.

When we all thought the movie was nearing its end, then boom! Guns came on the scene. First it was the SA camp who ordered Nepman not to dare step his foot in Jozi again or risk receiving a dosage of bullets from the pistols they were brandishing in videos shared on social media.

In one of the clips, they even went further to tell the artist that they can even take him out right here in Malawi since there is a presence of their gang or else he should pay an unspecified amount.

Then enter the apology episodes. Zembani Music Company owner ‘Soldier’ Lucius Banda was the first on the scene to attempt to put out the embers of the raging fire which appeared to be getting out of hand. He issued an apology on behalf of his protégé.

Then another apology, now from the artist himself, followed. It was an apology that did split opinion to a some extent. A majority were not convinced with the sincerity of Nepman’s apology as they argued it was cold and lifeless.

They said they still saw the invisible hand of ‘Soldier’ in the apology who was probably orchestrating and directing the episode. Yet some saw a condescending and remorseful Nepman who had recognised his wrongdoing in the whole fiasco and who was ready to atone for it.

Still, after the two apologies, the SA camp would have none of it and they continued with their threats to the singer. And not to be outdone with the gun-brandishing stunts, a few days later Nepman appeared in several videos hoisting his own pistol while in camouflage attire.

As everyone was waiting for the next episode, probably a retaliation from the SA team, it was reported that the musician had been apprehended by the police in Lilongwe for illegally possessing a dangerous weapon. Things had now taken a sudden sour turn for the celebrated ace.

He was subsequently slapped with a K100 000 fine after he pleaded guilty to the charges and upon payment of the fine he was freed.

Elsewhere, the conduct that Nepman has shown in the last two weeks or so would have seen sales of his records soar. In other jurisdictions, such as America, every publicity whether positive or negative is good and players in the entertainment industry often rides on such.

Some, through silly stunts, deliberately generate such negative vibes just to prop up sales of their albums, films or documentaries. But probably that may only work in America and Europe. Certainly not in Malawi.

Mr Nepman, who  answers to the name of Neppier Longwe, should be told in no uncertain terms that this conduct will not endear him to any fans. It will only shake his already small fan base.

As he is working very hard to earn his way up the ladder, it is important that he treads carefully and learn to respect individuals and groups which are crucial to the survival of his career.

Nobody can dispute the talent that he is. Very few can match his vocal ability. He has shown it when recording in the studio and he has projected the same finesse when performing live on stage.

Let him drop his street-like-thug approach and concentrate on being the artist that a majority wish he should become one day. The stories of what-may-have-been are not pleasing to share. I hope he will not turn himself into one of those because of his conduct away from the microphone. n

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