I wish I had a lifetime with Herbert Chandilanga and his matchless satirical look at arts, but the seconds of his absence have become days and nights.
Bob Marleyâ€™s Redemption Song teaches me not even atomic energy can stop the time even if most Malawians are yet to emancipate themselves from age-old cheatings that the world is waiting for them.
Look around. Our impaired sense of time is clear on rusty clock towers that welcome visitors to our timeline as well as the clocks in homes, minibuses, hotels, offices, hospitals, banks… and on artistsâ€™ wrist.
Here, delays are not unusual. This week, we heard more of the same when the launch of Maskalâ€™s Umunthu and Gospel Greatsâ€™ charity concert started about two hours late.
Even presidents (both political and lesser) seldom observe time, one would argue. While politicians still get applauses from waiting potbellies when they go lying, art lovers know waiting makes idle minds a devilâ€™s concert and they expect performers to deliver what posters promise. Anne Matumbi underscores this dilemma in the song Kudikila Nkowawa.
Elsewhere, time is money and people happily call themselves othamanga thamanga(runners) as if they were Jamaican Usian Bolt, Mozambican Maria Mutola and South African Caster Simenya.
We are not a nation in slow motion.Â Before radio stations with funny pronunciations and false time checks arrived, our ancestors could tell the start of the rainy season just by looking at the hills and we learnt to go hungry at the sound of noontime Zimene Mwatipemphaâ€™s opening tune on MBC.Â
I pray that local artists emulate Erik Paliani. Last year, the South Africa-based guitarist scheduled the launch of his Chitukutuku jazz album from 6.30pm to 8pm and delivered on time.Â When latecomers arrived at Ryalls Hotel, the venue was empty. There was no bone in sight.Â Achinyamata, changu pa tawuni!
Start copying manners, not artworks.