Good people, last weekend was significant for Black Missionaries’ fans due to the return of star reggae performer Anthony Makondetsa, often idolised as Adolo or Mr Cool.
When the action-packed entertainer was on “a health break”, rumours had it that he had dumped the band he has been touring with since the death of the Blacks’ on-stage leader Musamude Fumulani in 2007.
In their lingo, the rumour mongers wanted the fans to believe that Makondetsa was on the way to the Black’s breakaway band—the Wailing Brothers.
Such seems the competition between the two bands that no member of either side can take a breather without being hyped to have crossed the floor.
In this haze of speculation and half truths, the reappearance of Makondetsa at Milestone on Saturday night and Ozone Leisure Centre on Sunday afternoon did not just mark an end of the three-month’s hiatus.
It marked end of a story for those who knowingly or unknowingly played up the gossip.
Watching Makondetsa at work for slightly over an hour at both venues, it was clear he is a no mean musician: people love him, they missed him and they were happy to see him back.
This is fidelity.
Makondetsa stayed put and so did the fans who had to do with suspense.
The best episode of fidelity panned out at Ozone in the interiors of Blantyre’s largest township—Machinjiri.
In the suburb, residents are haunted by seemingly endless hours with no power. When Ozone management booked Makondetsa and the Blacks, it appears they did not divine that some well-paid hands would switch off the grid which powers the entertainment setting.
Wallowing in the perpetual state of no power, murmurs gained sway. Some of the murmuring pointed to the fact that artists and show organisers cannot continue doing business as usual while the country is grappling with incessant power outages.
Unfortunately, said one of the grumblers, it does not appear the power crisis is ending soon.
However, said an optimist, the tragedy rocking the country’s power sector could mean more money in the pockets of entrepreneurs ready to invest convinced that every venue needs power all day when it matters most—the gig day!
As my colleagues at Ozone were busy putting together the wires for a back-up generator, one reveler in the audience scattered across the venue refused to march out like “some infidels” because he “was here for music and Makondetsa was the music” he was thirsting for.
The solitary faithful did not go anywhere as power blues brightened the beginning of the show. He was all over the place like effects of El Nino and danced like a possessed cultist when sound returned for good.
Through him and the general response from the audience, it was unmistakable that the Blacks need Makondetsa—and he needs the band as well. They call it symbiosis, a call for mutual respect.
His fidelity to the band demands more fidelity. Without it, the music of the band known for thick reggae performances will become thinner and thinner—creating room for more unknown and unskilled artists to take up curtain-raising roles for longer durations.