No Winiko show as Kwathu Group rocks, 40 years on

The expectation was quite impatient. With close to two years of inaction, fans of probably Malawi’s oldest theatrical group were pregnant with expectation that Winiko would be back on stage when Kwathu Drama Group returned to Blantyre Cultural Centre (BCC) on Sunday.

But, it was not to be.

Former parliamentarian for Mulanje South Bon Kalindo, widely known by his stage name Winiko, was not on stage.

Kalindo (L) performing with Kwathu on Independence Day last year

Followers of the group may have missed his attire. Others may have missed his no nonsense gait, gestures and gullibility, but they were in for a show as he was not anywhere near the BCC when Kwathu staged Aneneri for close to two hours in that Independence Anniversary Celebration affair.

Yet, one can add, Ferguson Magona who handled Winiko’s role in the play, did it with finesse.

Kwathu director Eric Mabedi said Winiko was engaged in a political affair.

“He has been in meetings in Lilongwe for his party. That is why we did not have him in Phalombe and down here. That as it may be, I am happy people came in their large numbers to support us,” he said.

Indeed, people came in their numbers to the arts haven, which is undergoing renovations.

Aneneri, with Mabedi as the protagonist, and Kwathu’s oldest member Charles Mphoka as the antagonist, brings you so much laughing powder, engulfing a current dilemma. It is a tale of a prophet, who profits from his flock’s search for faith that leads them to abandon their very families for the pursuit of a better life up there.

The play was not void of nuances to the current issues. For one, Magona’s red jacket and his militancy could not pull one of the actors saying: “Nawenso paja ndiwe wa mademo eti?”

Summed up Mabedi: “In August, we are launching a new play. And, next year, we will be celebrating 40 years of Kwathu.

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