Memories are still fresh among hundreds of patrons who took part in this year’s Mdauku wa aTonga annual cultural gathering.
Zabweka Tembo’s performance was so thilling and more than a surprise, as it left patrons speechless, bearing in mind that he is advanced in age.
Now 83, Tembo performed as an up-and-coming youngster with fresh muscles and blood.
In an interview, he told Chill that he is still tender and young at heart.
“Given the right opportunity, I am ready to prove that I am still strong,” he said.
His voice, dance moves and smile brings back the memories of his performances during the reign of presidents Hastings Kamuzu Banda, Bakili Muluzi and Bingu wa Mutharika when he was a regular performer during national events. The artist can sing and dance.
After his energetic performance during the Mdawuku wa aTonga, Tembo said he will not call it quits.
“I will continue performing until I grow old and my body can no longer allow me to stand on my own two feet,” he said.
Accompanied by a group of 15 youngsters, the legendary entertainer said he was humbled to have been involved during the cultural festival which allowed him to show that he is still around.
“The genesis of my performances, which include energetic matching moves accompanied by well-coordinated moves, dates way back in 1954,” he disclosed.
Tembo said he organises a team of energetic young men and women into an artistic cohort called The School Band.
“I started my entertainment cohort as a school band and I still maintain the name for purposes of history
“Since that time my team has gone through a number of generational changes. I have worked with over 20 cohorts to date,” Said Tembo.
He made his name during district and national celebrations during the one-party era when he gained recognition and was invited for national performances.
However, Tembo said at one time his performances almost landed him in trouble as he used a wooden toy gun.
“That time my performance would have landed me in trouble. National security forces did not see it as entertainment,” he said.
“It was always fun for me seeing them [security officers] shaken with my woody gun, despite them doing a prior check before performing,” he said.
John Mphande, one of Tembo’s longtime followers ranks his dance as unique, calling for a transition to those capable of carrying to the next generations.
“Tembo’s dance is unique and should not go when he grows older for such performances. There should be a younger generation taking over from him” he said.
But as it stands now, Tembo has himself to continue entertaining the masses with no clear successor in sight. n