Malawi remains a place which is caged. The society places moral values above everything else such that most things considered as a taboo are rarely let out publicly.
Such that when you hear someone loudly labeling someone Hule (a whore or someone who engages in promiscuous sex for money) you are sure to have the public gaze descend on them with utmost surprise and disdain. For the local society, there is no such place to
be calling each other out as such.
But, art at times has the audacity to break the confines of the acceptable standards and play in the zone of that is viewed as outrageous. This has been demonstrated by artists tapping from the street dialect to make it part of their artistic work such as drama plays, music and poetry.
Music artist VJ Ice, real name Anthony Malisawa, is the latest to step in the rarely trodden path. VJ Ice is the brain behind the trending song Kwabwera Mahule. Despite all that is being said, the song is gaining popularity with each passing day.
Around October a video of a young man went viral in the social media spaces. The unidentified young man went at the gate of a house in one of the locations and screamed at the intercom: “Kwabwera mahule” and run away.
That outrageous act became the genesis of a phrase, which has been used by fun seekers in many entertainment gatherings such as the Sand Music Festival and elsewhere.
In an interview VJ ice admitted the inspiration was drawn from that meme: “It was during the period when the Covid-19 was at its peak and most people were usually indoors. The meme flooded the WhatsApp. Seeing how it escalated, I thought of making a song out of it.”
But contrary to what many think, the artist said he didn’t mean the song to offend any sex or demean girls or women. The 26-year old said he fell for amusement that the meme brought out and nothing more.
“It doesn’t mean girls are sluts. No! It is more of fun than anything else. When people are chatting and joking call each other as loose. That is even regardless of their sex. It is just something people call each other when one does something crazy,” he says.
Ironically, VJ Ice says it is the womenfolk who appear to be more in love with the song. He says at every set that he is playing females approach him to play the song.
Done in the South African Amapiano beat, the song has quickly established itself as one that every DJ playing at a party, club or any gathering must have especially as the festive season draws close.
The song, produced by Steve Spesho and featuring Rute, goes: Simudya nazo izi/ Kwabwera Mahule!/ Simudya nazo izi/ Kwabwera Mahule!
He admits though that when creating the song he was cognisant of the sensitivities of the theme: “It is a sensitive topic. But in a way I was trying to recognise the people we refer to as mahule or sex work as part of our society.
“I wanted to create a space where people can look at others and accept and respect sex workers for their life choices. That’s why I am singing; Simudya nazo tu izi.”
The Lilongwe-based DJ and videographer says he has no regrets for doing the song.
Producer of the song Steve Spesho, son to legendary gospel music songbird Grace Chinga in a separate interview says though they were forced to release the song before fully dusted in the studio, he is happy with the outcome.
He says: “I am a beat maker. I can make a music beat out of anything. When we saw this video clip with VJ Ice, we decided to make a track out of it.”
Unlike his friend, Steve Spesho says he has been receiving some negative feedback from people who are denouncing him on Christianity grounds.
“People don’t understand that I am just a producer. It is not my song. I have been getting bad words from friends who are judging me for the song. But my job is to produce music of any type,” he says. n