I thank Malawi President Joyce Banda and the Safe Maizehood Band for not naming ruins of the French Cultural Centre after founding leader, Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda.
Fears of the same old jazz were discredited in style when somebody christened the venue Blantyre Cultural Centre. Much as the entertainment mecca could have been aptly named after one of its arty graduates, the new tag is not politically incorrect.
By the way, those protesting the rebranding of the so-called New State House to Kamuzu Palace do not want it renamed Bonya Palace. Although some artists find it fashionable to name their products after bonya, the smallest fish in Lake Malawi, name-giving is a serious art. Where I come from, it is criminal to name a newborn without consulting the wise fewâ€”our elders.
Aids Day as usual?
Saturday is that time again when we commemorate the World Aids Day. So, get ready for the annual fashion show which does not feature models in stunning creations of dressmakers exhibiting at KIA Fame Exhibition in Lilongwe. Instead, even briefcase NGOs will come out of their holes to showcase branded T-shirts, caps and wrappers with strategically positioned logos of donors as if HIV and Aids is a competition for the most lucrative funding in town.
However, no amount of the giveaways will stop HIV infections. Until we start transmitting relevant messages in creative ways that appeal even to ears that do not hear, artists cannot stand aside and look while the nation is spending billions in vain.
While artists slumber, some potbellied guests of honour will take voluntary HIV testing tomorrow and publicly proclaim themselves HIV-freeâ€”leaving poor voices to testify living with the virus because that is what brings platefuls of bonya on their tables.
This is sickening. It silently suggests that HIV and Aids affects the poor only, but the big bosses are not immune either.
Artists must stand up to be counted. Their influence can help spread life-saving messages. Where others think people living with HIV are sinners, start re-educating the nation that some are born with it. Every day is World Aids Day.