Half a century and counting in the aftermath national independence, this nation still stammers excessively to acknowledge, recognise and crown those that deserve the national legacy honours. It could be unfortunate if our nation fails to get rid of the intoxication that largely promotes the naming of public structures after hard-core politicians.
This trend adds more and more grave gravity to the sick praise and worship kind of insane frenzy that is bestowed on our politicians. This is not only wrong but largely deceptive because this nation of ours has upright achievers that are way much sober than those that only register ‘achievements’ while holding public offices.
Malawi needs to wake up from hibernation and start to breathe, live and grow liberation. Mental liberation, ideological liberation, tactical liberation and yes, this liberation has to be practical.
A name is such a powerful identity as it has power and value among other attributes. Blantyre is a prominent name, right from where it was borrowed in Scotland. Before the adoption or branding of this part of Malawi ‘Blantyre’ by a handful of Scottish missionaries, this was Kabula.
And now, the legacy of the name Kabula is only reduced to a shadow in such a minor portion of Blantyre. The might of Kabula and its value was systematically swallowed and dwarfed by the Scots.
We are struggling to regain our rich endowed power and value to revamp victimised names such as Kabula. You see, the French Cultural Centre was one such infrastructure that was greatly a hub of entertainment in Blantyre and one of the icons that arguably graced the stage of this cultural centre massively was or remains none other than Du Chisiza Jnr, a theatre genius, a stage drama maestro, a multi-talented avant-garde artist, simply a mega star!
Duunderlined his prominence in drama, developed entrepreneurship out of art, grew talent and his exceptional deliverance in theatre circles makes him an undoubted accomplished legend, stage artist par excellence. Perhaps it could be so befitting to name structures like the so-called Blantyre Cultural Centre after people of Chisiza’s calibre or probably accord it a rich indigenous name such as Kabula.
We have a number of other competent artistic figures that befit that status. But alas! The moment the French dumped the cultural centre, we invested back the power and value that a name commands into Blantyre again. My goodness, the Scots must be smiling generously.
Where is our creativity? Where is our pride? Where is our value? Where is our identity? Where is our liberation? Where is our self-esteem?
Make no mistakes, this is a cultural centre. Now you wonder where domestic culture is in an imported name. Our culture has been forced to wear borrowed garments, our culture has been suffocated, our culture has been defied, in fact, it has been tactically rebelled against.
If we disown our culture, we drown our prestige. I think the Scots (or the Scotland-Malawi partnership) should utilise this licence to consider adopting the cultural centre to cultivate, grow and domesticate their culture. That would make sense. Otherwise, the current state of affairs, simply does not add up.
The current scenario attempts or indeed defies the value of culture, what is in culture and the power of it. Let us avoid taking things for granted, let us reflect and reason objectively in our strides to promote the prestige of our national heritage.
Half a century after independence, we need to be in control our minds and mind our controls. Let us be focused on adding value to our patriotism, culture, consciousness and liberation. The recognition of people, like the calibre of Chisiza, is non-negotiable and it would go a long way in motivating young people and others to underline that achievements cannot be scored in politics alone. sixteen years after his passing, there appears no one close to Chisiza’s theatre artistic competency and here we are, snoring over such a legend and taking glory in importing names or reinstating smuggled names.
By the way, Chisiza family needs to wake and come to terms that Chsiza’s legacy was not buried with him. Imagine if the family sold the highly anticipated videos of Chisiza’s plays to local televisions! Imagine if some of his plays were re-produced featuring Wakhumbata alumni acts such as Emmanuel Maliro, Jeremiah Mwaungulu, Frank Mwase, Mafumu Matiki and, of course, Chisiza’s own blood, the likes of Zindaba and Thlupego. Did Wakhumbata, as the name literally suggests, fold up hopelessly submerge in an orphanage state after the departure of Chisiza?