He is a Malawian sports presenter whose force lies in exploration of softer sides that radio names before him may have pushed to the jobâ€™s sidelines. Now Herbert Chandilanga stalks Williams â€˜Danger Left Wingerâ€™ Gondwaâ€™s personal journey to fame and fortune.
His signature isÂ unique, theÂ approach nice andÂ easy and the creativity inviting. He dates the airwaves with sporting romance via MIJ FMâ€™s Sports Update everyday from 7.30 to 8am and on Wednesdays from 8.10 to 9.10am with TNM Mpira ku Malawi.
His dedication on this road now has his bag bursting at the seams with reputation and awards other radio hosts can only stare at in awe.
Williams Gondwaâ€”aka Achimwene Aakulu or Danger Left Wingerâ€”may be on the road to a bigger revolution.
After coming out second best reporter in the electronic media category in the Professor Peter Mutharika Southern Region Football League in his debut year 2008, he shot and clung to the top most award for three seasonsâ€”2009 to 2012.
Along the road, he has also decked his trophy cabinet with top honours in electronic category in the 2009 Standard Bank Cup, Chipikuâ€™s Lilongwe and Districts Central Region League for 2011 and 2012, Presidential Cup in 2011 and runner-up credits in TNM Super League for 2011 and 2012 seasons,
Gondwa comes from Kulani Village, Lirangwe Rural, in Traditional Authority Chigaluâ€™s area where he was born fifth in a line of sixâ€”four girls and two boys.
Son to a father formerly engaged by the Temporary Employment Bureau of Africa (Teba) and his housewife, Williams went to Lirangwe Primary School from Standard One to Eight, proceeding to Lirangwe Day Secondary School in 2001.
After successfully completing his Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) in 2005, there was no financial support enough for a post-secondary school course.
He ended up opting to resit the exams and that would be at Mdeka Day Secondary School.
â€œIt was here where I developed interest in sportsâ€”football in particular. I was also a key player of the school soccer team, manning the left flank.
â€œThatâ€™s where I got to be â€˜Danger Left Wingerâ€™. I was also addicted to newspaper and radio sports reports and that interest would turn into a nagging bug.
â€œI soon went into experimenting with that curiosity, trying to put together reports from school sports activities,â€ he recalls.
Towards the end of 2006, done with the Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) again, Gondwa applied for admission into the June 2007 Certificate in Journalism class at Malawi Institute of Journalism (MIJ) campus in Blantyre, graduating in December.
In January 2008, he proceeded to the diploma class, graduating in October.
Having been impressively contributing to newsgathering tasks for MIJ Radio amid his diploma assignments, Gondwa was not to labour looking for a nest on the daunting labour market.
The station pronounced him a permanent employee around February 2009.
â€œThe first day was a typically daunting taskâ€”stammering and losing myself to the cramps at trying to imitate radio personalities whose touch I thought would redeem me from the abyss of novelty to the mic.
â€œBut three days later, I was up and courageous to hit the right buttons. It came to me that radio personalities study each otherâ€™s accomplishments and each must be aware of the need not to copy others to the boot,â€ he says.
That realisation was to be his very source of inspiration to embark on a mission to carve an own niche.
His strengths were in Chichewa, a language he had mastered by virtue of it being his mother tongue.
He took pride in the interesting and philosophically sound proverbs that would make his sports reports a must-listen-to.
â€œI erected in me three guiding pillars: commitment, truthfulness and cheerfulness.
â€œI can commit personal resources to a task so long as in the end I win for myself and my station. I also have to be prayerful and true to the employer, listeners and myself. I then have to employ dedication to the cause,â€ says the Seventh Day Adventist who turns 27 on 20 October.
From then, he got down to weaving Chichewa tags for sports leagues: TNM â€˜Pompopompoâ€™ Super League, Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika â€˜Ofewa Ndani, Olimba Ndaniâ€™ League and Chipiku â€˜Mpira Nâ€™kumakaâ€™ Central Region Football League.
Big Bullets supporters became â€˜Masapota Olusaâ€™. The list of inventions may be longer.
Gondwa says he draws his fire from the realisation that the field is full of other super abilities such as MBCâ€™s Phillip Business and Frank Kandu and Mike Bango of Zodiak.
Beyond the borders, he looks up to Thomas Mlambo of Supersport.
He hails sports reporting as a worthwhile sector that has taken him places and taught him lessons.
â€œI am privileged to have toured Chad, Kenya, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Zambia.
â€œAssociating with people in this fieldâ€”big and smallâ€”is a privilege to access first-hand information on happenings in sports. A sport is a big part of peopleâ€™s lives; its coverage needs huge investment.
â€œSports administrators will also have to desist from influencing sports reporters negatively. Instead, sports reporters need encouragement never to remain focused and avoid bias,â€ he says.
Away from the studio cubicles, Gondwa passes hours away watching soccer or listening to local music.
His top billed artists include Thomas Chibade, Joseph Nkasa, Lucius Banda, Anthony Makondetsa and the Black Missionaries.
No wonder, he also hosts a local music show, Home Talent Hour, from Monday to Friday.
He dreams of studying for a degree.
â€œI hold my sister Cecilia to my heart. She sponsored my way into this career and for that I can never thank her enough,â€ concludes Gondwa.