WITH RICHARD CHIROMBO:
Talent, for all it is, is arbitrary.
That is why, from the root of the same biological family, one can be a preacher, another a hooker and yet another an artist.
Talent, whatever people say, must be arbitrary. Forget what those who believe in karma say. Yes, I am talking of the folks who, either high on something legal or low on something illegal, tell us that a man— and woman, of course. Why are you looking at me? Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! — is born seven times.
Yes, seven times of separate life spans. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. The circle is complete.
Okay, let this be talk for another day.
Thing is, one Thomas Chibade has the arbitrary chance of having arbitrary talent throw music at him.
Maybe it happened in his sleep. I mean, the realization that he was one of a kind. A musician.
Maybe it happened in daylight.
Whatever. For us, Malawians, it happened when he walked [drove or flew?] to the studio, recorded one song and, boom, Thomas Chibade was born. In our hearts I mean.
Chibade sings. That is why he is hired to perform in various podia.
He has done it with Lucius Banda. They call it a collabo.
He has done it with others. They still call it a collabo.
And one day, he had to spice up an event at Motel Paradise, where Malawi Police Orchestra, Charles Nsaku and others were on song.
That is in December 2016.
Well, Thomas Chibade found me at the gate. I was in the act of forking out a K2,000 banknote and paying to whoever set a roadblock between the outside world and the stage at the venue.
That is when Thomas Chibade [no short cuts here, as I here. Thomas Chibade is Thomas Chibade and not Thomas or Chibade. Again, don’t look at me. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!] popped up.
He did not have an identity card. Remember, the National Registration Bureau had not embarked on the registration exercise then.
For Thomas Chibade, his face is a national identification card. You see a Thomas Chibade, you see a national identification card.
I mean, the fella is famous. He needs no introduction.
But, then, perhaps the guards from the security company that had been hired were high on something legal, or low on something illegal, for, at the setting of a new sun [because it was not late; the sun had just gone beyond the other part of the mountain on the western side of Malawi] the guards did not want to see the face before them— that of Thomas Chibade— as an identification document.
They demanded to know who he was and when he told them who he was, they did not believe it. They demanded an identity card.
Thomas Chibade was in the act of getting angry— I saw it on his face— when one of the organisers popped up and asked the guards to let him in.
You should have seen what I saw. A puff of anger, that had now made Thomas Chibade’s face puffed up with anger, getting deflated as a tubeless tyre ‘stabbed’ by two sharp thones.
But, then, Thomas Chibade went on to give a scintillating performance— spicing his songs up with those of Lucky Dube— as if nothing angering had not taken place. Things, it seems, work well for Thomas Chibade.
That is relief. The ability to forget and let go.
Of course, they paid him thereafter. Another form of relief.