Lamentable taste for foreign art?

Are all foreign artists that good?

My best friend in the gutter is an unchained mind. We often sit by his veranda discussing matters as they pop from both our heads and his small radio receiver.

This day, his hunt among a forest of radio stations landed him a dial on which some presenter was justifying an oncoming entertainment event as one to never miss.

We wandered in thought. Why is Malawi almost suddenly in a rich season for foreign artists?

We differed on many possible answers. It could be our promoters are doing their best in so many years. Perhaps our local artists are sleeping. Maybe we are now financially mature enough to pick out and enjoy quality foreign art without whining over the cost. Well, maybe.

But one thing that united us in the end was Malawians’ general soft spot for things foreign.

From margarine, through soccer and foreign preachers, to music and adoration for political leaders — we are easily enticed by things foreign.

This is why even entertainment acts that are past their sell-by date can easily land at Kamuzu International Airport and sell out at any cost.

In our hunt, are we not unnecessarily drooling over every hill we see?

We have a queer appetite. We once fell in love with some hardly edited films from the West of Africa whose plots could sometimes meander longer than the Nile without any tangible take home message.

However, every poor habit has a price. The West African stuff is out of flavour and fast being swept from off the film lover’s priority list, yes, but not without leaving an aftertaste; the muddled English synonymous with these hastily produced movies is still in our students’ end of year compositions.

The ‘culture’ of too much reliance on voodoo in such films will stay with us for a while too.

Are we not currently wishing we had the kind of some wise man busy lashing at his sheep in what is being mistaken for cleansing of systems? n

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