Bright Nkhata’s daughter speaks on father’s legacy

There is always insurmountable pressure exerted on the shoulders of the child of a legend. Especially were people feel the legend had unfinished business which ought to be completed by their offspring.

Bright Nkhata’s daughter Agnes may have been a toddler when her legendary father passed on to the day 14 years ago, but she recognizes the huge task that her father left in his wake.

Bright Nkhata, lead singer for Kalimba and later Makasu, was one of the finest musicians to emerge from Malawi.

Fourteen years after his death, there is yet a musician to match that sultry voice behind anthemic hits such as ‘Sometimes I Wonder’, the hit single that went into many charts in many radio station even reaching top 5 on BBC Africa Channel.

Agness Nkhata
Agness Nkhata
Agness Nkhata and kate Bright Nkhata
Agness Nkhata and kate Bright Nkhata

In an exclusive interview with Nyasa Times on her recent Malawian sojourn this week, the US-based DJ and artist says although she has been away from Malawi for 20 years, she has never forgotten who she is.

“My father’s influence is a big part of my life. The impression I get about his legacy grows and changes every time I meet someone who knows him and fills me with stories of watching him, the live wire, in action; when I hear how his music influenced a life, when I listen to his music. Before I realised how famous he is here in Malawi, he was always a star to me. His legacy, Makasu’s legacy, I believe, is one to be preserved and cherished because of the positive messages in the music, the stories that represent Malawi life and the ‘reggae magic’!

“Honestly, I feel a desire to honour his legacy more, deeper and publically, I welcome any one who is willing to join hands with me in this,” she said, adding that she is not trying to relive her famous father’s legacy.

“Can a ‘legend’s’ legacy be relived? I don’t think so but I can carry it forward. Growing up my mother encouraged me to sing but I didn’t have such a passion for it. I have picked up many instruments such as guitar, violin and keyboard although honestly have not pursued singing as a profession but I don’t count it out! I have sung background vocals for a few artist friends in the US. Music is indeed a big part of my life in many ways. First, personally I love music like Bob Marley said “when it hits you feel no pain”. Secondly, I support artists/the arts in my project called Roots in the City in which we showcase local (Dallas, Texas, USA), African and Caribbean artists of all ages in song, dance and spoken word poetry.”

Agnes is the coordinator and host partnering with Dallas-based Trendsetter Entertainment – Anthony Jade and Mo’tertainment which promotes positive and uplifting music, infusing the arts with community service, development and awareness.

“During one session of Roots in the City we played Makasu at each intermission, I introduced his music to Dallas Texas that day. I wish to implement this project in Malawi as well. Lastly, I am a lady DJ by the name of DJ Queen Agnes, The Soul Selektress, specialising in African and Reggae music. I definitely play Makasus, especially at Malawian functions.”

Agnes is in Malawi to visit her father’s relatives in Kasungu and her mother’s people in Mzimba.

“This is my first trip to Malawi as an adult. I have visited three times as a child. I prayed about this trip for years and the purpose was/is to reconnect with my family both mother’s (Embangweni, Mzimba) and father’s (Mthuthama, Kasungu ) side, volunteer at the Crisis Nursery in Lilongwe, assist in renovations to my agogo Winston Zimba’s school in Embangweni, Timalechi Nursery School, volunteer at the Embangweni school for the deaf and lastly dive into Malawian life, culture and traditions. I can say by the grace of the most high, I have successfully accomplished all of those desires. This is a trip of a lifetime as I am talking to you from my father’s home village,” she said, citing that the lessons from the trip are enormous.

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