Good people, life is what you make.
It is gratifying some artists are making the life they deserve.
This is not a homage to celebrity names that always flock together like birds of the air.
Neither to those who charge no more than K2 000 per show as they hit the road running, holding a show everyday of your weekend.
Rather, thumbs up to artists who refuse to underprice their wares and make sure they give the very best of their ability to match your money.
This is a rare kindred that seem to agree with one of the sayings often quoted by Soldier Lucius Banda: “If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys”.
It appears Malawians have chosen to refuse to be monkeys scrambling for nuts–the offerings that are not up to standard.
Recently, a trend has been rising that seem to confirm that Malawians do not care more about clinging to their money than paying for the value of the gig on stage.
Forget the figures of Malawians negotiating for ‘small discounts’ from poor sellers of tomatoes, bananas and gondolosi who just need a little more tambalas to make feed their barefooted children.
Forget the cost cutters who further impoverish the enterprising poorest of the poor by paying less for more.
Reading the news, it is impressive that visitors and residents in Blantyre came out in large numbers to support the launch of Patience Namadingo’s hit album Lero which was pegged at K5 000 per head.
The multitude at Comesa Hall, like those that thronged a similar act by Lawi a few months ago, show Malawians know quality stuff when they see it and they will not hesitate to pay the bill.
This is not a new lesson, but the same one we got when the internationally acclaimed Erik Paliani and Wambali had live performances worth over K10 000 a person.
However, this is the lesson Malawian artists should internalise forever: If you give a K2 show, you get a thousand K2s.
The crowd that graced Namadingo’s show is a renewed call to quality.
Rather than rushing to hike their gate fees, artists need to take time to polish up their act.
They must make sure what they give is worth every tambala they want per pocket.
This calls for unrelenting determination, skill, originality and self-marketing.
Presently, there are numerous solo artists, choirs and bands that hold shows every month.
However, the major question is not whether people turn out for the K2 000-per-head shows.
Rather, artists should ask themselves: Would people come forth if we charged K5 000 per head?
If the answer is not affirmative, they should contact Namadingo for tips and start striving for a lofty perch.
Hard work, dreaming big, originality and learning from the best of the best could be the reason the likes of Zimbabwe’s Oliver Mtukudzi, South Africa’s Black Mambazo and Mali’s Salif Keita attained their venerable status that extract moneys with no less than six zeros every time they are invited for a show.
When audiences start paying big, artists ought to start moving forward with a purpose for a better future rather than looking forward, backwards, sideways and offside like travellers who have just lost their goods in transit.n