What was dubbed and started as gospel phungwe Saturday night at Robin’s Park in Malawi’s commercial capital Blantyre ended into a mere disco with secular music, such as ‘Waichukucha’ and Oskido’s songs, dominating the entire wee hours of Sunday.
The gospel phungwe, organized by privately owned Matindi FM as a way of celebrating the country’s 50 years of independent with it’s listeners, saw some artists refusing to perform after it was known that Bishop Peter Sambo, who was entrusted with the duty of booking the gospel artists, swindled part of the money meant for artists’ appearance fees.
According to sources close to the station, who couldn’t tell the exact figure, the ‘man of God’ was given “enough money to book for at least 10 performers”.
But Sambo only booked about five artists, namely Sir Paul Banda, Grace Chinga, Princess Chitsulo, George Mkandawire, King James Phiri and Patience Namadingo, giving them part payments instead of full appearance fees.
“We were surprised when Sir Paul Banda and others threatened not to show up until we give them the balance before commencement of the show.
“We were taken unaware because what we knew is that the station released the money in appearance fees way back,” said the source, who asked for anonymity.
After inquiring from the disgruntled artists, the organizers learnt that Sambo did not give them the agreed dues and misappropriated part of the money.
While most employees, mainly presenters and the station’s owner, a Mr Nserebo, were present at Robin’s Part, Sambo did not turn up and his mobile number could not be reached.
Nevertheless, the organizers wore a brave face by negotiating and promising to settle the balances after the show, whose charges were K1,500.
Live performances, backed by Malimba Band, kick started around 9pm, and by 02:00 hours main artists had done everything to their ability to entertain the patrons.
It was at this point that some artists including George Mkandawire refused to go back on stage to perform due to voice hiccup.
Mkandawire publicly told the demanding audience that they could no longer ditch more songs because their voices had gone hoarse.
The Director of Ceremonies, comprising Matindi FM presenters, then asked other artists who were part of the audience to fill the space, but this did not work out because of poor coordination with the backing band as it was impromptu performance without performance rehearsals.
This subsequently forced the organizers, who were now subject to scathing remarks and unpalatable words, advised the DJ to play some audio gospel songs to keep the audience on their feet till dawn.
But as the night wore on, the DJ started playing some secular songs, which apparently excited the majority of the audience.
The secular songs enjoying ‘air time’ in drinking joints made a night for patrons and ‘atoned’ for the sins committed by the organizers.
Meanwhile, Matindi FM management has reportedly fired Sambo following the development.
One of the employees confirmed this to Nyasa Times, but effort to get of Sambo proved futile as his mobile number could not be reached.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :