Until Wednesday August 26 at 14:53 hours, Patience Namadingo had never met fellow artist William Kachigamba.
Yet, it was this young man Namadingo had in the previous 24 hours undertaken a challenging and bold task of turning himself into a temporary statue to raise K3 million to enable William travel to Zambia to receive specialist treatment for his cancerous lip.
After the successful completion of the task, which saw Namadingo sitting on the structure originally designed to carry the bust of Mahatma Ghandi at the corner of the Masauko Chipembere Highway and Mahatma Ghandi Road junction for close to five hours, the artist made the long trip to Lilongwe to meet William for the first time.
“I have never met him. This will be our first physical meeting,” said Namadingo on his way to Lilongwe on Wednesday.
He said the trip was meant to work out the rest of the logistical arrangements with William’s family.
Predictably, their maiden meeting was an emotional moment, shared between Namadingo himself, William and his family members. The moment he came out of their house in Lilongwe’s Area 23 shanty township, William appeared at a loss for words.
In his child-like excitement he reached out to his benefactor and said: “You are my hero. You are my idol.”
He smiled as he struggled to keep his emotions in check.
According to his sister Patricia Kachigamba, who is his guardian along with her husband Innocent Matandika, William’s problem started while he was 15 years old when he developed what looked like a small pimple.
She said over the years, the strange outgrowth continued to develop. It was only in September last year when, during one of his regular check-ups at the hospital, the doctor told them the swelling had developed into cancer and, therefore, needed specialist treatment.
The 26-year old budding lead guitarist, a former student of Music Crossroads Foundation, said the condition has slowed his ambitions as an artist.
He said: “I want to be one of the greatest artists. I have been working on that dream ever since. But sometimes it has been hard for me. The pain at times is unbearable such that I cannot join my friends for rehearsals.
“On the other hand, it has also been tough to socialise with friends of my age.”
Currently, William is a member of a five-member band called Mvula Band he set up with his fellow graduates from Music Crossroads.
His former tutor at the art school Moshu, real name Moses Shumba, himself an accomplished producer, spoke highly of William’s potential.
“He joined us in 2017 without any knowledge in music. But through hard work, we have seen him develop into a fine guitarist. Now, he is hired by several groups when they have performances. That speaks volumes of his potential,” he said.
Moshu said it was tough to watch helplessly as William’s health took a dip, in the process threatening his artistic dream.
But the intervention by Namadingo has given William hope for better things to come. He said he is positive that after the treatment in Zambia, he will get back to normal life. For that he is forever thankful to Namadingo, the man he repeatedly referred to as an ‘angel’.
William said: “I am grateful that my fellow artist has come forward to help. If this can be the spirit then it is a good thing. I grew up listening and mimicking his music. I hope to be like him one day.”
His sentiments were shared by his sister Patricia: “You have been like an angel to this family. You have shown up right in time of our greatest need. It is like a dream. We tried everything within our means, but it was not possible for us to raise the money.”
Namadingo reacted to William’s plea for financial assistance which was sent through a video clip on the social media. He subsequently offered himself to pose as a statue to help raise funds for the cause. Last Tuesday, the artist embarked on the task and raised K3.3 million.
It was a great moment for William to finally meet the musician he has idolised for a while, but he will also be hoping that this encounter with his ‘angel’ is a start of a new beginning in his life.