From Zingwangwa, popularly known as Trench Town after the Jamaica ghetto where reggae and Rastafarian icon Bob Marley was born, comes a song that has kept the tongues wagging. Primarily, it is because of its Zambian beat that many have speculated Maloto Sang’amba, one of the songs of the moment, was done by an artist from our north-western neighbour.
The song, however, is the work of Emmanuel Kambanje, answering to the stage name Manzy, who features his elder brother Wales aka Wale. They are products of Blantyre’s Zingwangwa ghetto life.
The song opens with a refrain that gets you to the core message of the song:
Ali bize kudilita namba andiiwale
Ali bize kung’amba zithunzi andiiwale
Waiwala maloto sang’amba
In essence, the persona is telling a former lover that no matter how much they may tear photos and delete phone numbers to erase memories of an affair, they can’t erase dreams and thoughts about the ex.
The first verse expounds on that premise:
Sole maloto sang’amba uzindilota
Ine mumtima mwako sindingachoke ngati mame
Ine mumtima mwako ndikukakamira ngati nthata
Ine mumtima mwako ndinakhazikika sindine mlendo
This is where Manzy shows an artistic and creative way to bring out a seemingly simple hometruth. He uses the figure of how, unlike due at the rising of the sun, memories of the lover cannot vanish just like that.
The artist engages another gear when the persona tells the ex he is stuck in her heart like a flea. Fleas, as we know, cause so much uncomfort, sucking blood and to imagine the torment of a former lover with a flea in her heart.
Further, the persona continues to say he is no stranger; he is at home in her heart. This time for torment, causing her to call his name even in her deep sleep.
Usaiwale maloto sang’amba
Ndangomvetsedwa mkatikati mwa usiku ukumabwebweta
Ndipo mkati kati mobwebwetamo ukumatchulamo dzina langa
Then comes Wale, with his ragga style lyrics. In this day and age, when some are committing suicide for love, he takes you to another plane.
Sindikufuna udzapange regret
Popeza unkandikonda zenizeni
Ndikukumbutse chaona diso mtima
Mumtima mumtima mulibe diliti
Manzy is soft speaking. It makes you wonder, for instance, what really made him compose that song.
“There was a girl I loved so much. I really wanted to marry her. But she left me for another man, whom she married. But whenever we met on the street, she would tell me how much I stuck in her memories. She even gave me some goodies along the way,” says the 33-year-old.
The two brothers have played music together from back in the day.
Manzy started out at Chamchenga Catholic Choir in Nkhotakota around 2002, but he reunited with his brother in 2006, in Zingwangwa.
They set on their first project, an album they recorded at guitar maestro Collen Ali Matola’s Trutone Studios. The duo recorded their debut 10-cut collection, Ndi Mfumu.
“We sold some copies through OG Issa. We also got royalties from Cosoma [Copyright Society of Malawi] as the songs were played on various radio stations,” says Manzy.
For Wale, songs like Melina, Chitani and Ndalama may not have had the impact they dreamed of. “Basically, the songs may not have touched peoples’ hearts,” he says.
Their elder brother, Martin, noting their interest in music, established TK Studio for them in Zingwangwa.
“Whenever we have nothing to do in the ghetto, this is where we get our inspiration. Our anger burns in the ghetto. But, on the other hand, the ghetto gives us joy and unity. If we are not with brothers on the street, we are in the studio,” says Wales.
Manzy says it is the time in the studio that has allowed them to perfect their music production.
“We spend time watching music videos from other artists. Some of the artists we have seen grow from the ghetto are Geoffrey Zigoma and MacDonald Muwawa,” he observes.
At one point, they recorded Ine ndi Bwana star, Kanthu Kalinda. Kalinda, who used to play the keyboards for the Zembani Band and mesmerise fans with his interlocking of Billy Kaunda, Anjiru Fumulani, Lucius Banda, Zigoma and other acts at Zembani shows. He is one artist they used to look up to.
Today, their dream is blossoming. With Maloto Sang’amba, they have become a sought-after supporting act. They have even been the main act. For instance, last week they rocked the show at Scallas in Blantyre, with Collen Ali’s Mingoli Band.
Martin, who is also their manager, says this month they are performing at Mzuzu’s Queen’s Park alongside Lulu, Wikise and Twin-M. That is before they hit the road for Blantyre’s Club 24/7 and Mangochi’s Davido Lounge.
“This is the needed exposure. It is our hope to grow that far,” says Martin.
In Manzy’s word, he is not sleeping. He is not tearing any dreams. He dreams of releasing an album. Who can tear that dream? Is it fate?