Ada DE entertained Malawi: Tribute to Davies Mussa the broadcaster

The radio would blare out a cool mix of international and local tunes, interspaced with scintillating jokes every morning Monday to Friday, as the radio giants Phillip Mwala Moyo and Davies took turns to entertain Malawi in a morning programme called Tadzuka Sitidziwa Anzathu (I got up well, and you?).

Late Davies Mussa
Late Davies Mussa

That time Malawi had only one radio station and so everybody was listening to the same programming, day in day out. In MBC’s annual Entertainer of Entertainers Program, Phillip Moyo would usually emerge tops and a close second was usually Davies Mussa.

Sometimes they would swap positions, Mussa taking the top position and Moyo the second. Eleven days ago, Davies Mussa sadly left this world but left behind a rich legacy.

I still remember him one morning talking about a lady and her young boy passing by a beer tavern and the boy saying to his mum, “Amama, pano pakununkhira ngati ababa” (Mum this place has the same scent as dad’s).

That made my day, as I am sure it must have done to hundreds of thousands of other listeners. Davies Mussa, popularly known as Ada DE, was a household name then. His appreciation of music was wide.

He would play local tunes- and by local tunes I mean village tunes without any Western instrumentation – and was equally comfortable with Western, Blues, Jazz, Reggae, Rock n Roll, rhumba and other genres.

One of the local tunes he liked to play was Wamanga ndani Mpanda (Who erected this fence?).

After playing this tune one morning, his comment was, “The fence had actually been erected by the person who was asking. After completing the work, he went out to drink and when he came back he was so intoxicated that could not recognize the fence he had erected.

” Ada DE once joked about the tendency by some to dye their hair so that people may not notice that it is graying. “

It is quite easy to apply chemicals all over you head,” he said, “but the notorious grey hair sometimes protrudes out of your nostril. How would you dye it?”

Davies Mussa was super on programmes like “Afro-Beat”, and other cool music programmes. On such programs, he was popularly known as “Mr Grovemaker”.

He was also good at delivering outside broadcasts (OB) and MBC often deployed him to OB assignments to cover state events.

He once tried football commentary but turned out to be a novice in this area, playing second fiddle to people like Pearson Chunga.

I remember him mixing up two players with the same surname. One player was Daniel Dzinkambani and the other Navigator Dzinkambani. The latter was a goalkeeper.

In his commentary, Mussa kept referring to goalkeeper Daniel Dzinkambani. This small mishap notwithstanding, Mussa’s love for football remained undented.

Throughout his life, he maintained his firm support for the Bullets. Each time the Bullets lost, he would joke about it in his Tadzuka Sitidziwa Anzathu programme, apparently to apply some kind of mirth-therapy to the loss.

Then he would end the programme with a Gulewamkulu song. He liked to sign off his Chichewa programs by saying, “Lokoma thendo, nyama ilowa m’mano” (Thick traditional soup is better than beef, because the latter has a tendency to get lodged between your teeth).

Sometimes, he would sign of with the phrase “Tikumane mawa kukachaso” (Let us meet again at the next daybreak).

In Malawi, a strong traditional spirit is known as kachasu, and to say “tikumane mawa kukachaso” sounds like “let us meet tomorrow where they distil kachasu”, which is not what Mussa’s phrase was meant to convey.

It was this and other similar phraseology that made Davies Mussa the darling of the radio listeners. In his spare time, Davies Mussa loved to play or coach basketball, besides watching football.

He was introduced to basketball by the Catholic Brothers in his youth while he was a student at Likuni Boys Secondary School. He fell frantically in love with it.

Many a young man in Blantyre would rub shoulders with Ada DE at the Blantyre Sports Centre, playing basketball. After retiring from MBC, Davies Mussa spent a short time at Capital Radio before moving on to Maziko Radio where he was the Executive Director until the time of his death.

We need to conduct a search within the current radio personnel and identify people that can be groomed to the standards that Davies Mussa and Phillip Moyo set.

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5 years ago

Good ole days. RIP legend!

5 years ago

“He was introduced to basketball by the Catholic Brothers in his youth while he was a student at Likuni Boys Secondary School. He fell frantically in love with it”.
Coincidentally I was at LIBOSS as well and I recall interacting with him at Blantyre Youth Centre when he attended to me after being struck with muscle cramp whilst playing BIBO, that was around 1988/9. We did not share back grounds and I have known that he was a LIBOSS alumni through this article. Fare thee well DAVIES. RIP.

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