Comedians have the toughest job one can think of. Making other people laugh may sound like fun and games until one is put in a room full of strangers.
Every word a comedian utters must have the audience laughing, spotlighting issues such as parenting, dating to marriage and being a co-wife.
One such talent was M4k173n1, who was laid to rest on October 16 at Mponela in Dowa.
Born Clement Romen Makileni, the comedian might not have hit the limelight, but remained a major source of laughter among his friends and those who knew him.
For the past four months, his fan base was fast building as people got to appreciate his talent through the audio skits circulated via WhatsApp, with some finding their way on radio stations.
Often weaving in and out of deep Chewa, Ngoni, Yao and Tumbuka accents, M4k173n1’s imitation presented his locality within a universal context.
Like all talented comedians before him with a good understanding of their role in a healthy society, he speaks to underlying social issues—migration of the rural poor to the cities, conmen and uneducated politicians—within a light-hearted context that gets you thinking without realising it.
“M4k173n1,” he would introduce his clips. His was a creative mind that the moniker is diminutive of his surname.
He effortlessly delved into satirical comedy before moving on to observational comedy and all that without breaking out in a cold sweat, but poignant through his rib-cracking skits. M4k173n1 was in a class of his own.
According to his sister Betty Makileni, M4k173n1 had always been a comedian.
“He used to do comedy from his secondary school days at Dowa Secondary School. He started sending the clips at the beginning of this year. He had diabetes, but last week he had no blood and was given a transfusion only for that problem to reoccur. Unfortunately, there was no blood at the hospital and it took a bit of time to find some. Shortly after he was put on a drip, he started vomiting and that’s how we lost him,” she mourned.
M4k173n1 died at the age of 49 and his demise was a shock to his fans, who took to social media to mourn him. The sad part of it was that some of the fans only got to know the identity of their comedian in death.
A computer scientist by profession, M4k173n1 once worked for Limbe Leaf and Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM).