By Lonjezo Idrissa
When different song artists started writing and producing their own songs for their societies, the music industry used to be one of the major channels for disseminating important information about education, life lessons, experiences and advises that helped to develop many lives of people. The songs played a significant part in the everyday lives of people across age, class, religion and ethnicity. In other words, song artists used to play some major roles in the lives of people and they were heavily regarded as role models to people living in the society.
Nowadays, one of the things that these so called “musicians” don’t actually realise, know and understand is that music is not just the art or science of combining vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion. Instead, music goes beyond its definition so as to benefit the listeners for them to engulf fruitful knowledge from the songs that could help to change their lives positively. So musicians are expected to depict important valuable roles in the society since they are regarded as role models to people living in their society. By being role models, this means that people living in their society would automatically want to be like them in everything they do, for example; their type of dressing, language, and even the way they socialise with others. So as musicians, they must recognise their roles in their society as to why they are called musicians and why people spend their time listening to their songs as well as watch their music videos. Musicians don’t just exist and carry their roles for nothing in their society but the roles are meant to be practically exercised by the musicians so as to develop different criteria of people’s lives.
Firstly, Malawian musicians must act as teachers to people living in their society. This involves the musicians playing a major role in educating people living in their society by producing educative songs that are very rich in tangible life lessons for moral, intellectual, idealistic or cynical reasons. Educating people through songs helps to shape the social and moral values of people and enables the people to have new or wide knowledge and understand their society.
In addition to above, Malawian musicians must also acts as advisers to people living in their society. Musicians are supposed to produce creative songs that have elements of advising the audience listening to the songs on the dangers of indulging into immoral conducts. The songs must strongly express the negative effects of getting involved in unacceptable social behaviours such as smoking tobacco. These advisable songs enables people in the society to be aware of the negative impacts of participating in unacceptable social behaviours such as dangers of drug and substance abuse, smoking marijuana, and even theft.
Again, Malawian musicians must also act as social critics of their society. This is where the musicians take time to tackle some evil doings by some individuals in their societies by producing songs that exposes and criticises negative deeds like problems of smoking among the youths and again, coming up with valuable solutions. This helps to promote positive change and act as a means of conveying messages for betterment of Malawi.
Malawian musicians must also act as sources of information about life. This involves the musicians coming up with songs that are very rich in information about what is happening around their society since there are a lot of people, especially from the grass root level who cannot manage to buy newspapers, own a television to be watching news stories every day. So music acts as their source of information of what is happening around their country.
This is not the same with most of the Malawian local artist. Many Malawian musicians produces songs that conveys messages about girls, money, pride, envy, hatred and other reasons for their own personal goals. Instead of many Malawians being key figures for unlocking some of the social problems that exist in our society through their songs so as to bring social change by providing the society of Malawi with some tangible solutions to the problems, most of them are busy stagnating the social problems within the society of which one of them is smoking. Instead of helping Non-governmental Organisations and the government of Malawi in fighting against the tendency of smoking haphazardly in public places by coming up with songs that depict evils of smoking tobacco they busy helping in making sure that the tendency of smoking tobacco exist in Malawi where they tend to praise the act of smoking tobacco, more especially marijuana. Sadly, you will note that most of the music videos of these musicians will have scenes where the artists themselves or other people smoking which may make their viewers to be seeing smoking as a normal thing to be doing yet it is a very dangerous thing to the society.
What the song artists don’t realise is that the act of coming up with songs that praises smoking and videos that depict people smoking tobacco helps the problems of smoking in Malawi to be high like Mulanje mountain on many lives of people socially, mentally and psychologically, especially the youths.
Firstly, the tendency of praising smoking in lyrics and depicting music videos about tobacco smoking highly persuaded most youths to start indulging into other immoral behaviours such as smoking marijuana, cigarettes, Indian hemp, drinking beer, and use of drug and substance abuse, ruin their educational journey for many students for after being persuaded with the act by their favourite artists, they tend to not to focus on their studies, as a result, they receive poor performances in class, and sometimes they get withdrawn from the school grounds since most of the time is consumed on smoking tobacco rather than their studies.
A lot of students from primary and secondary schools have been suspended from their schools after being caught smoking due to influence by their favourite musicians who were praising the act of smoking. Consequently, this ruins the positive images of parents, schools, societies, and also cases sickness, disability and death.
If Malawian musicians play such roles in their society, Malawi will be a better place to stay with musicians because such roles help to develop people’s living standards in the society socially, academically, spiritually, politically, economically and nationally. Again, it also shows a strong sense of maturity in musicians to people living in the society and set a good practical examples of how the people must be living in their lifestyle. As such people, organisations and the government may choose, appoint or elect the musicians into some important social, cultural, political, and economic positions in the society. For example, Patience Namadingo has been chosen as the brand ambassador for MultiChoice Malawi, Fredokiss also known as Ghetto King Kong, whose real name is Penjani Kalua was also unveiled as new brand ambassador for New Building Society (NBS), Sangie, whose real name is Angel Mbekeani was also made an ambassador for Airtel Panel and Itel, and Gwamba, whose real name is Duncan Zgambo was also chosen as UNFPA Malawi SYP (Safeguard Young People) ambassador, just to mention a few.