Carlsberg Malawi Limited (alcoholic beverages) senior brands manager Twikale Chirwa made a candid confession when the firm closed St Denis Street for a free-for-all party: “For a long time, we have been having shows in Blantyre and Lilongwe. This time we deemed it proper to come to the Northern Region and the response was amazing.”
It’s been a while since Mzuzu had worthwhile merrymaking the size of the street party complete with three stages for a Chill DJ battle, dancing and talent shows and another where Black Missionaries met with Skeffa Chimoto in a concert.
For once, Mzuzu residents stopped whining about exclusion, a hugely generalised story of self-pity which unfortunately glorifies stereotypes that hold Mzuzu a fun-starved society and a city of darkness. No it isn’t. It has never been. Not because this time it was a flood of fun, lights, bubbles, booze and sounds. Those who know what they want always get the fun they need where it is. It’s in the ‘taste of the beholder’!
Those who sought fun on Saturday got tight security and what they budgeted for—a barrage of live entertainment like no other, save for sporadic sights of under-18s on some parts of the carnival of what is supposed to be an adult’s only event.
There must be a way of excluding children from booze matters.
Talking about exclusion, GOtv finally went on air in the Northern Region on Thursday.
It’s over two years since the MultiChoice Africa digital terrestrial television (DTT) service came to Malawi.
When we revealed the story of the low-cost pay TV’s extension to Mzuzu two weeks ago, a feeling was gaining sway over the city that Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) must find a way to ensure firms which obtain national broadcasting licenses really go live on a countrywide scale within reasonable time. A councillor even asked Macra to stop issuing “nepotistic licenses.”
The arrival of GOtv in Mzuzu supposedly ends the said nepotism. It doesn’t. Malawi is much broader than just its cities, towns and municipalities. National broadcasting is about obligating holders of national licenses to ensure their signals are accessible in all parts of the country without excuses—making sure even villagers in the hard-to-reach areas access TV and radio stations in their localities.
This buck does not stop at the doorstep of the brains behind GOtv.
It’s a story of numerous radio and TV stations with national licences which are not just putting enough effort to increase their airwaves beyond a few cities, leaving the rural areas, where the majority of Malawians live, tuning to spills of signals from neighbouring countries.
I am hearing the Great Angels are now ‘The People’s Choir’.
Looking at the crowds that keep following them on their circuits, one wonders why they went away without gold at this year’s Muma Awards. But that is a story for the past.
Looking at nearly 3 000 people that welcomed them to Mzuzu, their pulling power is beyond question.
But they are also the best dressed performers on the big stage—confirming that art is not all about rags, filth and shabby looks. Garbed in yellow braziers with a traditional chitenje collar and blue skirts/trousers, the group stood out at the congested Sunbird Mzuzu’s Boma Park.
Good things attract good crowds. It looks like serious business.