Entertainment for the youth as they pass their summer time away is limited. However, Team X1 Entertainment in Lilongwe and Chez Ntemba International Club in Blantyre seem to have an answer in terms of meeting the youth’s entertainment needs.
In Lilongwe, the concept of teen time events started on a trial basis, but slowly blossomed into a favourite pastime, thanks to Team X1 Entertainment.
“It was not easy,” recalls DJ Scarpper who has been on the forefront of the initiative.
“It is a fruit of optimism and courageousness because it was not easy to introduce city youths to the tradition,” adds DJ Scarpper.
Today, the event is one of the afternoon activities that attract the largest audience—of both teens and adults in the city, and DJ Scarpper is happy about this.
In Blantyre, the teen’s habitat is at the heart of Blantyre City at Chez Ntemba International Club. The night club hosts a teen time event dubbed the Young Star Disco every Sunday afternoon. Born two years ago, the event also enjoys good patronage.
Both DJ Scarpper and Chez Ntemba International DJ and event organiser DJ Trigger, whose real name is Yamikani Chandiyang’ana, say the objective is to nurture and expose young talent to music and dancing.
“Malawi has youths who are flexible in arts and able to build their talents through frequent practices, but many fail to make it with their potential due to lack of platforms to practise and expose their talent. This is what pushed me to start Team X1 Entertainment and the Bikini Pool Party.
“There is a lot I can show to the nation today that has been achieved within a short time we have been running the Bikini Pool Party. Many of our budding artists have released their mix tapes and it is an achievement to us,” says Scarpper, who also facilitated the release of Team X1 album where there are voices of different budding artists in the group.
The group has three sections—dancers, musicians and DJs. The Bikini Pool Party involves playing music on CDs, live music performances and dancing by members of the group.
The Blantyre show is the phenomenon of the same and Chandiyang’ana says the focus is on keeping the youth busy and away from immorality while helping them expose their talents.
In a nutshell, the two say the main objective is to create a home for teens where they can spend most of their free time, interact with others and appreciate imminent talents.
The shows take place with the bars open and the youth are allowed to get into the bars to dance and buy beers and cigarettes with no control. The youth behave at liberty. Different from the Bikini Pool Party, which finishes around 6pm, only youths above 15 years of age are allowed to patronise Young Star disco which finishes at 7pm.
However, accuracy on age cannot be easily achieved, especially where young kids look older than their ages.
But Chandiyang’ana insists that security ensures that only teenagers are allowed into the venue till 7pmwhen the bar reopens for adult sessions.
But is this the best way to hold teen time events?
DJ Kenny Klips says the phenomenon should be embraced and promoted in all cities of the country. He says teen times help in nurturing and exposing young talent. He also hailed Chez Ntemba and Team X1 Entertainment for funding the events.
However, Klips is not pleased with the way the events are held, particularly on age limit for participants. He said it is sad that the events are held at drinking joints and teenagers under the age of 18 are allowed to patronise them. He said it is difficult to know who is under 18 because we do not have a national identity card.
“Our laws say, alcohol and cigarettes should not be sold to anyone under the age of 18 and so to make the events beneficial, they have to accommodate youths above 18 only. This is a task for all of us and government and parents should take a key role to ensure children under 18 are not exposed to beer selling and other immorality at drinking joints,” he said, adding parents are crucial in checking how their children are dressed.