ood people, there is something about Patience Namadingo’s charity gigs that shows some untold unity of purpose.
Just when you thought the gift of giving is gone for good, many people and companies are stepping forward to support the invitational live performances in aid of constrained children undergoing cancer treatment at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre.
Such is the goodwill the initiative has catalysed that it easily surpassed the K2.4 million that the Macheza hitmaker set out to raise.
The story of corporate companies’ involvement has been told with all the urgency and a celebratory tone it deserves.
Every week, the media has been splashing on companies adding their cheques and signatures to Namadingo’s charity kitty.
This is a commendable spirit that needs to be nurtured because together we can surmount some of the challenges in our midst without looking across the border for donor support.
However, one sector has emerged a surprise package in this story of benevolence—people of the bottle.
Forget the puritan belief that pubs are no-go zones for gospel singers.
Namadingo has been all over the country, performing in booze dens where the unsung heroes congregate and back his unique intervention.
The sights of the musician entertaining imbibers at Dzeka in Blantyre, Cockpit in Lilongwe and other drinking joints is not a story of desperation to raise the money in 40 days, as planned.
If Namadingo wanted, he would be home and relaxing having achieved the targets in no time.
This is not a story of a musician who rubs his nose with the back of his hand because he cannot afford a handkerchief.
One of the main lessons from the K3 000-per-head mobile gigs is that the youthful musician has such lure, swagger and outreach skills that he would go anywhere in the country and make the money he needs for any good cause.
One would have been tempted to think churches and other faith groups would be the first to jump forward and give a hand to the initiative which shines the light on the plight of children in their cancer ward at the congested hospital.
But the silence from this sector has been astonishing.
At a time some believers expected their congregations to put aside a special offertory box in aid of the singer’s cause, some are wondering: what happened to the belief that it is better to give than to receive?
Interestingly, those who patronise various pubs have sprung up in concerted efforts to remind this God-fearing nation that ‘blessed is the hand that giveth’ is not just a song by fallen reggae star Lucky Dube, but one of the cardinal realities of umunthu and religion.
Ordinarily, these are people that have put together small contributions to make a big difference in the lives of children in agony.
By performing live to these folks right in their boozy setting, Namadingo is not saying ‘drink some more’, but ‘I shall go to them’.
Here is a gospel artist without borders in a society where his kind is quick to refuse to go where angels fear to tread.
Expectedly, restless tongues of holier-than-thou musicians are already hard at work–wanting you to believe Namadingo is a wolf in a sheep skin simply because he is holding performances for people whose gift of giving happens to be inspired by a clubbing culture of throwing rounds even for strangers.
Once upon a time, I used to say unto those who judge others: mumudziwe Yesu.
I have since left the catchphrase to those who have a richer gift of preaching.
Being merely a servant of words, I will not be preachy about those who think Namadingo is a lesser gospel artist because he is going places where my friends at Great Angels Choir do not perform. n