If one were to judge Kendal Kamwendo by the concentration he puts in producing music, you would think the artist of the Nyemba Nyemba fame breathes music.
I held the same view before I visited Kendal at his Area 25 house in Lilongwe. But I was surprised that music takes just a fraction of his time.
The dusty stretches of his neighbourhood in the Capital City betray the larger-than-life world he partakes in day-in and day-out.
You do not have to meet him and his wife to know that there is more to Kendal’s life.
Faith, aged three, the only child in the family, mirrors lifestyle at Kendal’s home.
No sooner had I taken a seat than Faith stretched her hand for a greeting, introducing herself.
“I am Faith Kamwendo, I learn at Aseth Private School,” said Faith, who, like her mother, is shy but respectful.
Konde says while most people look at his husband as an artist or a busy entrepreneur, Kendal is just a family man who knows how to keep his family happy.
“I know people known him as an artist who enjoys cracking jokes, but when he is home, Kendal is a loving father and disciplined. I have never asked him why he behaves differently, but as a mother of the family, I know the type of family life he prefers,” says Konde.
When at home, according to the wife, Kendal is a man of few words unlike what his music videos portray him to be.
Kendal had just completed his secondary education in 2007 when he met Konde who was then at Kabwabwa Secondary School. Three years later they got married.
Those who met Kendal eight years ago cannot believe the transformation the artist has undergone, something Konde attributes to hardwork as her husband now owns a modern house, vehicles and runs several businesses.
“He was poor, yes, but if you look at what he has achieved and his lifestyle, you will see that he is a person who always wants to be exceptional. He has tried several things to make his life better. I can just say he is very ambitious. I can tell you that the whole area here had no electricity and water, but he brought them and many are benefiting,” says Konde, who comes from Mfuti Village, Traditional Authority Kalolo in Lilongwe.
Kendal—third born in a family of three—was a civil servant for many years before he called it quits to concentrate on his small-scale businesses.
He has run a drinking joint, minibuses and timber-cutting and selling in Chikangawa Forest, among others.
Kendal revealed that success in his previous business influenced him to help in promoting the growth of the media industry. He says he took a risk to transfer resources from other businesses to establish Luso Television Station where he is executive director. To complement the dream, he opened music and video studios where musicians can record their music at cheaper costs.
While most people consider him a musician because of hit songs he has released alongside songster Symon Kamlaka, Kendal aged 33, is a movie maker. He has produced a film Where My Heart Belongs in which he features as the main actor alongside Modester Kanyenda and Brazio Matius.
Kendal is a Christian and belongs to the Church of the Central African Presbyterian (CCAP).
Although he made a name through music, Kendal says in a Malawian set-up, banking on music only is like putting all eggs in one basket.
On his shelf is the hand pump for irrigation he founded in 2006 and recently, he unveiled the Kendallgravitor, a machine which he says when completed will be generating electricity using gravitational force.
Kamlaka, who has been with Kendal before they earned their celebrity status, says outside music Kendal is a great friend who likes interacting with almost everyone.
He says they live different lives outside music and have different projects, but they complement each other in their endeavours when need arises.
“We have so much respect for each other and know our boundaries. We also understand each other’s lives and this enables us to relate to each other easily, hence our continued mutual relationship.
The holder of a City and Guilds Certificates in Information Processing, Kendaly, enjoys chips and offal (pachiwaya).