Two weeks ago, FDH Bank plc finally handed over a grocery shop which they constructed and stocked for veteran musician Giddess Chalamanda.
The handover was a fulfillment of the pledge the bank made a few months ago, through a deal brokered by the bank’s brand ambassador Patience Namadingo, to offer the ageing musician a relief package to help sustain himself in his old age. The whole package was pegged at K2 million.
As the bank was constructing the shop, some controversies came up mainly surrounding the wellbeing of the musician. What stirred the whole controversy was an interview that Agidde gave on MIJ FM Radio claiming that he is destitute and therefore, needed assistance.
This had people wondering as it was coming on the back of the announcement of the support from FDH Bank plc. Inside that K2 million package there was K500 thousand which was set aside to be Agidde’s upkeep till the shop’s completion. He was getting K50 thousand a month.
That monthly sum is reasonable and enough to sustain a man of his age considering the environment that he lives in. That is why many received his plea for assistance with a pinch of salt. It just didn’t make sense.
The FDH Bank plc team, led by Namadingo, was then dispatched to find out more about the aging musician’s utterances. It was then discovered that the old man had allegedly been dragged to make the interview by some individual, not necessarily out his will. That was the gospel according to Agidde.
Whether his version represented the whole truth we are not exactly sure. But surely his action did not earn him many favours as some noted elements of greed from the old man. In this instance Chalamanda acted as if Malawians owe him big time.
Granted, his contribution through his long years in music has been nothing but phenomenal. We are grateful that he shared his gift and art with the world. I am sure his name will always have a place in the art spheres for many years to come. That I have spared this space to opine about him attests to his importance.
But he should be reminded that he is not the only one who has done that. There are plenty patriots, from different fields, who have done mother Malawi proud as well. And again there are many, like him, who are lacking in many aspects of their life.
The base that needs support is just as huge. So, it will not always be about him. The benevolence that he has enjoyed over the years should not be taken for granted. It is a privilege some may never see in their entire lifetime. He needs to be thankful.
Given the magnitude of the assistance he has received from FDH Bank plc, the best ‘thank you’ he can give is to make sure he takes care of that shop. The beautiful pictures we saw on Friday during the handover ceremony will be a source of pain and embarrassment to him one day should that shop crumble due to mismanagement.
The publicity around the whole project and the interest in obtained thereafter has placed him under the gaze of the entire nation. Among those they will always be prophets of doom who are already on the count down as to when they will see the old man flat to his begging self.
This is his chance to prove them wrong and to show the world that he really needed such assistance and that it did not fall in the wrong hands. At 90 he is already over the hill. It is just about surviving from one day to the next.
The business he has been given is more than enough to cater for such needs. If his enterprise will not thrive he will only have himself to blame. FDH Bank has done its part, now it is your turn Agidde! n