As per the pillars that this page is founded on, it is uncommon that we miss and fail to reflect on developments that are a shaker in the creative domain.
There are a few times when developments compete, and some are eventually relegated. The moments when I fail to capture some happenings are always painful. For purposes of records, it is only just that every piece that shapes our creative domain deserves to be well documented.
It is in that spirit that today I will take you to a development that happened almost a week ago. I see no point in rushing when I have left unattended another milestone in our arts circle. This came in no smaller proportions than a donation of a car to veteran artist Joseph Nkasa.
The donation was courtesy of Centre For Sports, Culture and Arts (Cesca). As pledged by the organisation’s chairperson Caleb Thole, last Saturday Nkasa drove back to his base in Zomba in a brand new Toyota Sienta quoted at K3.6 million.
What started as mere social media sweet talk culminated into probably one of the biggest interventions that have been witnessed on the local creative landscape.
When Thole made the pledge to help mobilise resources and buy Nkasa a car, I bet few took him seriously. In part, this was down to the history that has accompanied such pledges. And to make matters more complex, this was not the first time that a pledge of this nature was made to Nkasa. This is a story that has been written before.
In 2012, the country’s first democratic president Bakili Muluzi told a whole rally that he was going to buy the then hot-selling artist a car. Nkasa waited and his waiting transformed into frustration.
That frustration spilled over in his composition of Anamva which he released a year later. It was his sly and subtle reminder to the Big Man about the promise he made to him publicly. Anamva was not enough, and just like that, the promise went unfulfilled.
Even when this pledge was made, Nkasa was not very excited. I remember in my interaction with him just a few days later, he chose to live it to time.
He said at the time: “This is not a new thing. A lot of Malawians know that I have been through this route before. It is not wrong for someone to promise you something. But if that person doesn’t honour his word, you have no right to hold them accountable. I can only wait.”
There was nobody who could blame the artist for being that pessimistic. As they say, once beaten, twice shy.
Thole had made the promise and the onus was on him to fulfil it.
But things took an interesting turn in the midst of that wait. Before the promised April 30 was reached, Thole and associates pulled another marker when they donated household items worth K2.6 million to the fading music star.
That was probably the strongest indication that the pledged car was not beyond their reach. It was only a matter of when and no longer if.
And that moment came on May 1. At a well-organised event at Winehouse in Namiwawa, Blantyre, Nkasa was presented with his car.
That moment reminded everyone that we still have people who hold in high esteem people who tire out their creative wits to have us entertained. It was a moment when selflessness triumphed over the contempt that many hold on creatives.
And again, Cesca showed that with added commitment the creative industry can be transformed to a terrain that individuals can be proud to be part of. The organisation has set a tone of hope that only requires to be sustained.