Lucius Banda Beaten by Self

I was fascinated when Lucius Banda conceded that he thinks he cannot match the musical prowess that is engrossed in his four-year-old son Mapiri Bakili Banda.
While his peers would be competing for space to have a better view of Tom and Jerry or anything that kids of his age would rush for, give him a music video and he would go into trance like Luther Vandross appreciating a ‘Clockwise’ jazz video piece by George Benson.
His father is recording his latest 16th album and he can sing all the songs in the album word for word; and he is running short of critiquing the father just because of age limitation. He, at four has an urge to fiddle with musical instruments.
Michael Jackson released beautiful tracks that stormed the world at age 5 and behold Mapiri is only four.
You might think ‘Ndikubwekera’ But the reason I am seen to be mouthful with my fascination with Mapiri is because he has found a better family through which his talent will be nurtured through the passage of time and bear the music torch on behalf of Malawi.
When I learnt about Mapiri, it made me reminiscent how my parents name-called musicians and how near cursing me they would go if they heard me telling them how I wanted to be a music man.
I would gather several tins, tightening plastics across the mouth of tins of different sizes to make drums of varying sound and make a drum kit with some beaten worn out pot covers or plates that would act cymbals. Then I would be drowned in sound that I would be producing only to be jerked to life by a scorching whiplash that would send me scampering for dear life without realising what has befallen me.
Afterwards, would I then see my mother destroying my months’ long artistic toils to come up with such an impressive improvising creation of a drum kit.
Using an oil gallon that I would turn into a guitar had its perils as well, my father would not only destroy it but would ensure a small beating is done to remain a constant reminder of how schooling cannot be replaced with lowlife musical career.
Strangely, he would highly praise Mjura Mkandawire for the ‘Kunali John Chilembwe’ song on 3rd March when gathered to listen to the show or much appreciation for a church Choir at both Mendulo and Nyungwe Catholic Parishes.
I also remember to have done a number of corporal punishments for turning a desk into a drum in class in between periods.
If you now check the route that most of our musicians took, you will realise that it was through the Church Choirs because parents had no idea that one can transmigrate from choir singing persona to something else within the no go musical zone.
Vilification of musicians was the order of the day, what with the so called examples of the days of Zambian Paul Ngozi who the conservative government of late Hasting Kazumu Banda banned because he was spotting dreadlocks.
This mentality is it that caused schools in those days to let learners only parrot what their mothers sang for their Nkhoswe Number one without understanding the dynamics of music and what it can do to one’s life as a career.
Malawi is to an extent a poor country because it has unwritten culture that stifles growth of talent in the young people and the culprits are mostly parents and teachers.
Now Lucius Banda understands the heart of music and what it means to guide the talent in little Mapiri to grow into something that will makes souls dance.
It should therefore not take the father to first be an engineer before appreciating and letting the blossoming engineering skills in the children to grow.
I have argued on these pages that we need music lessons in primary through to our secondary schools; I have also drummed out loud for the introduction of music in technical colleges as a vocational calling that has to produce musicians, music producers, marketers, promoters, etc…
But this will all be in vain if parents and teachers will try to inculcate a negative attitude towards music in children.
Watch out this space next year, when Mapiri Bakili Banda will be five. Don’t say I did not warn you!!!


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