Jah people, wayward craftspeople can be offered all the support they need, but they can only change if they are willing to do so.
This is why I commend Mlaka Maliro, the one-time bestselling worldly musician who has entered the second year after switching to the gospel side of the local beat.
When Mlaka was Mlaka, he had this irksome habit of drunkenly staggering into sleep while fans were expecting him to be on stage, entertaining them with his sweet energetic steps and soulful song-words.
But this weekend, the gospel rookie is back in town with something bolder, bigger and better.
As most gospel artists continue turning popular venues into their citadels and shrines, new-look Mlaka takes Allan Chirwa, Thocco Katimba, Kelvin Shema, Great Angels and other gospel stars to Lilongwe Golf Club on Sunday.
A first, the pending encounters mark the start of the new order for gospel-loving Lilongwe residents who usually meet their beloved songbirds at one and only complex—Sheaffer International Christian Assembly (ICA) Marquee.
At least, it offers newcomers in this Jerusalem ample proof that gospel stars have not received an eleventh commandment which blinds them from looking further than Sheaffer in Lilongwe; Katoto Secondary School in Mzuzu; as well as Robin’s Park and Comesa Hall in Blantyre.
Progressive thinking shows that preaching where angels tread cannot bring extraordinary converts.
Having surmounted all records at Sheaffer, Mlaka of Ndisiye Dyabulosi fame and company are on the path to growth by going out of their way to experience a new challenge at the stronghold of Black Missionaries, Anthony Makondetsa, Soldier Lucius Banda, and other secular singers.
Rather than hiding in their holy holes, the gospel artists must come out and dare to break the record Makondetsa set during the launch of Fuko Lokondedwa recently—pooling about 25 000 music lovers on the gig grounds.
In their self-styled religiousness, gospel voices must not by-pass unreached souls that nest in underserved venues. After all, their merchandise is first and foremost music—just music.