Good people, there is a new song from the stable of Wambali Mkandawire.
Just when you thought prominent Malawians’ obsession with honorary degrees cannot get wackier, the country’s greatest musician has snubbed a piece of paper from the self-styeled Professor Gusto Tuweh Gadama and his briefcase university, the Cyprus International Institute of Texas, US.
Essentially, universities and honarary degrees are supposed to confer status on deserving achievers.
It is no secret Wambali is a foremost voice on the country’s music scene, an unsung hero whose feats confirm honorary degrees are a worthwhile recognition of proven prowess and exploits.
Wambali, the founder of Mwa Yesu Church who prefers to salute himself as Mte, has raked too big a haul of international awards for what he knows best to wax lyrical about overhyped handouts from a university that only exists in the wild imagination of its founder.
In the world of honours, there is nothing more fulfilling than credible awards that add glory to what the recipients are good at.
However, Wambali’s newest jazz aptly puts into question both the honorary degree from the US-based Cyprus unknown and the hand that giveth.
Malawians have long been crying for higher learning institutions to cut back on honouring political rulers and consider extending the degrees to outstanding artists, but this does not mean entertainers are dumpsites of useless paper from universities that cannot be traced on planet earth, in the air and online.
When people are conferred with honours, they are supposed to be happy, contented and re-energised to strive for higher recognition–not to rush for magnifying microscopes to figure out the giver’s authenticity.
The fact that Wambali has admittedly spent the past months on Google verifying the existence of the Cyprus thing is half a confirmation of lingering questions the July graduation in Lilongwe stirred.
They say Google does not know everything, but the search engine will unearth a word about any credible university and big names it produced if it is not a farce.
Which Cyprus Ujeni grad does Google know?
Dr Ben Phiri? The politicians behind the Malawi Government website and some online pages know why they did not care to authenticate the origin of the famous giveaway.
Ethel Kamwendo-Banda? She is no stranger to dialing up goods, causes and services.
Athenticating the real McCoy needs no high-profile ensemble of specialists the size of the geologists, gaenaologist and pathologists who needed multiple tests to tell the nation that a famous Mulanje baby was actually a stone.
It’s no rock science that Wambali needs no bogus honour to stand out in the pack.
However, one does not need grainy spectacles of veteran propagandists to see why people with hidden intentions will go to astonishing levels using good names of artists to clean up their secret pursuits.
The sweetest candies do not need the brightest neon billboard.
Propaganda studies has it that calculated use of celebrity names has the power to sell bad apples destined for the bin. They call it endorsement.
Whose name were the Cyprus jokers trying to prop up when they settled for Wambali in the same manner their one-time Jerusalem University of India dished out ‘honorary degrees’ to musician Soldier Lucius Banda and the legendary Sam Mjura Mkandawire?
Politicians who need some air when they go wining and dining with politically misplaced professors and doctors?
A university that has nothing to show?
You may add your own, but Mte Wambali is not the first artist to do the right thing by rebuffing handouts from questionable hands.