From as early as 7pm on Thursday, most revellers drove into Blantyre Central Business District (CBD), some even walked to ring out 2015 and welcome 2016 in style.
They carried with them firecrackers and fireworks.
The destination, for most of them was Chez Ntemba International Club in Blantyre, where musicians Bucci, Diktator and Black Nina were expected to perform.
By 9pm, the club was filled to capacity, but some were still outside the gates trying to force their way in.
As the clock ticked, the crowd went wild, some removed their clothes and poured beer on their bodies, others competed in drinking shots and dancing. Light fireworks made an interesting, but irritating noise.
In fact, the noise from revellers and the fireworks subdued the music being played, to the effect that DJ Trigger, who was manning the console, pleaded with the crowd to minimise the noise.
In no time, Black Nina, who collaborated with Nepman on Chilawe Changa song, hit the stage, dished out a few songs, much to the excitement of the crowd. Bucci followed and Diktator of the Chilibe Season hit, mesmerised the audience till around 1.30 am.
After the performances, DJ Trigger kept entertaining revellers with a tantalising mix of reggae, hip-hop and, of course, some kwasakwasa.
But it was Nilibe Problem, by Zambia’s Dalisoul and Magigi that stole the night.
Outside the place, and at many other drinking and partying places, commercial sex workers refused to be outdone.
Flashing her thighs, one of them said at Kamba in Blantyre: “It’s cheaper today—K1 000 short-time, K5 000 for the night. These are promotional prices as we welcome 2016.”
But in the populous Ndirande Township, a visit at around 2am showed that most benches where vendors sell their merchandise had been destroyed by people who have had enough of the sour drinks.
Every New Year and Christmas Eve, the benches get destroyed and vendors have to repair them the following morning. It is the same story this year.
James Salasa, who sells kitchen utensils and clothes, had his bench destroyed, and yesterday morning, he was busy refurbishing it.
While some were busy partying and destroying people’s property, others took time to thank God for the gift of life in 2015, further seeking His protection in 2016.
At Living Waters International Church in Chimwankhunda, Apostle Stanley Ndovi led hundreds of people in prayers.
Musician King James Phiri of the Mukumane Ndi Moyo Wanga hit, performed during the prayers. He said later in an interview that it was time to reflect.
“It is time to submit to God our gratitude about what He has done in 2015, and time to ask Him to guide us in 2016. We need God in everything that we do,” he said.
Welcome to 2016! n