Bodies of Nine People that were killed during Pro-Democracy Demonstration on JULY 20, 2011… The Pictures were taken by Gregory Gondwe

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It all started like everything will be ok.

The police and organisers of the demonstration met and discussed of the injunction and added that lawyers for the organisers were trying to have it vacated.

Then marching in the street began. Then Tear Gas came, prompting anarchy that became so huge for the Police to handle.
The order stopped being demonstration but it was now

Burning and Looting

The Awards were ‘Dog’s Breakfast’

Without trying to take anything away from the Diversity Leader, organisers of the Malawi Music Awards, I want to say here, without fear or favour, that this whole show was some circus that should have done better with seeking or getting proper consultation.
Others have argued that all those that have come hard on the outcome of the awards should have done so before the moment nominees were announced, and I want to agree as well that they are right to the dot.
But it would be equally folly if I keep quite when it was made clear by the Diversity Leader that this event will become an annual fixture.
With the musical awards event, Diversity Leader once again exemplified how events are supposed to be organised. They are not a new kid on the block when it comes to paying tribute to outstanding Malawians. However, much as this country badly needs the Malawi Music Awards, the firm should have done extremely better had it consulted or had it received propel assistance on who does what in the local music world, so that they be put in their right place.
Come on! Even if you ask Symon and Kendal what genre they play, they would not be fooling with a fickle of imaginations that perhaps what they play is reggae; they would right away identify their genre by its rightful name, which is not reggae.
Now, when you lump Symon and Kendal, Limbani Banda, Black Missionaries, and Ndingo Brothers Band in a reggae category then you have something that has no name.
Diversity Leader Managing Director Denis Mitole did indicate that his firm put down the event in collaboration with Music Association of Malawi (MAM), Bata Shoe Company, Malasha Bus Company, Tourism Ministry, Nation Publications Limited, Capital Radio and OG Issa’s Afric Music.
One would be saying, with such high profiled linkage why should Mitole alone be made to bite the bullet. The simple reason is that because he is the shaker and mover in an as far as the whole make-believe was concerned.
To start with, if anyone says Flora Jolly Makonyola of the ‘Sanjika’ song fame, was the Lifetime Achiever Award winner then you have to start questioning who the voters were.
In the first place, if indeed votes came from people who are in touch with the local entertainment there is no way names of the likes of Giddes Chalamanda, Lucious Banda, Wambali Mkandawire and Mjura Mkandawire, would have been dwarfed by little known Makonyola. In all honest, I had ever heard the ‘Sanjika’ song but I have never heard the name before and yet I am closer to four decades old.
This would be the age group that is exposed to the awards philosophy as well as the voting style which was put in place and there is no way anyone would have voted for Makonyola.
I felt pity for Diversity Leader the first I saw their Reggae category where Black Missionaries, Mafunyeta, Lucius Banda, Skeffa Chimoto and Anthony Makondetsa were placed together.
Within this group there is no Symon and Kendal, at least according to the initial list that is on where Symon and Kendal were grouped in the BEST LOCAL with the ‘Mbewa Zanga’ dude Wilson Mwase, Lawrence Mbenjere, Thomas Chibade, and Moses Makawa.
At least putting the Ndirande Anglican Voices in the BEST GOSPEL together with Ethel Kamwendo Banda, Wambali Mkandawire, Grace Chinga and Lloyd Phiri made sense before the whole nomination turned into a laughing stock when the Ndirande Anglican Voices, which is a choir appeared in another category of BEST GROUP where there was Black Missionaries, Zembani Band, Groove Magic and Mizati all which are bands.
On BEST FEMALE how do you compare Tigris, Ethel Kamwendo Banda, Grace Chinga, Wendy Harawa and Rina. How and when do become the best female musician?
The good innovation in establishing the awards was watered down by misplacement what would otherwise have been a glittering event.
To an extent it was an insult to nominate some of the artists that were misplaced. In all this it was purely dog’s breakfast and I pray that next year things will be better.

Investing in Music Entertainment

I have the opportunity to visit Kenya and the words of the fallen first Malawian President Ngwazi Dr. Hasting Kamuzu Banda that “Travelling is a form of education” had a ring of resounding truth to me more than any time that I had heard them.
More so with the spirit of investing in entertainment in general and music in particular that I have found fascinating here in East Africa.
For some time, the East African Breweries Limited has been carrying out competition for musicians in the Eastern African Region called Tusker Project Fame – a reality Television competition, which was at a value of 1 billion Kenyan shillings which is an equivalent of 12.8 million US dollars which is about 1.92 billion kwacha. All this money invested in music, imagine!
Now perhaps to give you a clue of what is done let me share with you what I stumbled on here in Nairobi.
This East African Breweries Limited on the Sunday of June 26, 2011 launched Tusker All Stars reality Television competition. Now in this one they plan to woo consumers to their newly unveiled new-look Tusker Larger bottle.
What this all stars involve is that they have now invited eight former winning participants of the Tusker Project Fame to battle it out in this one Tusker All Stars. These artists include Alpha Rwirangira of Rwanda; and from Kenya there is Davis Ntare, Patricia Kihoro and Ng’ang’alito. Tanzania has also her four participants in Hemedy Suleiman, Peter Msechu, Amileena Mwenesi and Caroline Nabulime.
The host of the show is none other than Gaetano Kagwa of the Big Brother Fame.
My heart therefore bleeds when the private sector in Malawi always invest towards its marketing drive upside down.
Football has been tried enough, but while I am not advocating for a stop in investing in stuff like football I am trying to make the private sector that they are failing to utilise one thing that can boost their products and services.
In the case of the East African Breweries Limited, it posted more success than they imagined with the Project fame and they never hesitated after unveiling the new Tusker brand to take the same musical route to sell the product and at the same time promote music and musicians.
What fascinated me is that they never restricted participating artists to a particular genre neither were they compelled to sing about Tusker. Eventually the situation created is a win-win one where both the investor and the music industry and the musicians in particular do benefit tremendously.
Business is about daring, sometimes even trading where angels fear to step and apparently music is one aspect of art that no man will tell you do not come in touch with.
They might be faithful(s) of any religion or pagans, children or adults, men or women, old or young and even the deaf…cannot be without music.
Unlike other areas of investment like in football, for example where other people have not heard of Edison Arantes do Nascimento the all famed Brazilian soccer legend a.k.a “Pele” no one would never tell you they have never listened to music.
It’s just so simple to deduce and it is mind boggling when the private sector looks the other way round in this aspect. Obviously, the CEO needs to realise that his or her market team is a sham.
You can mention anything, be it a service or a product that you know, and see if it is not linked to music.
Now since this is a TV show – here it brings me the question of whether or not we are a serious country when political whims are making politicians to decide how many television stations we can have.
This to an extent is killing the aspect of creativity and perhaps this is why we do not have project fame that other countries are enjoying.
But even in a situation like ours where we only have MBCTV, we still need initiatives and an investing spirit from the private sector.
Try investing in music and ask me later if you would have missed the target.