NEWS | MUSIC | ANALYSIS
By Lonjezo Idrissa
Malawi is one of the sub-Saharan countries with rich music. It has artists of different music genre ranging from local to urban music. Not so long ago Malawi birthed “Habusa Che Wikise”; an artist who never ceases to entertain and amaze Malawians since his dawn on Malawi’s music spotlight.
His great music composition, rich and subtle powerful message enveloped in his comic approach has without a doubt catapulted him to the level he is and earned him various awards. It’s safe to say that this is one of the many reasons behind his speedy rise to stardom.
There can be many questions relating to Wikise’s musical career on how his songs have been popular throughout the year, 2019 and even won some of the best awards at Urban Music Party (UMP) for the best song of the year and artist of the year.
When we look at the role of musicians in Malawi and beyond, one of their greatest roles is to disseminate a message to the masses through their art. Every musician is a messenger of a message and that being the case, one has a role to communicate valuable messages to his or her society and this includes messages that teach, advises, warns critic social problems, shares culture of people and even entertain.
Throughout the ages, music has been greatly used as a tool of propagating the message and at times Kings and queens have used music to mollify their souls when stressed. Over the years some musicians lost their way and role as musicians this has been evidenced by the poor content of their songs, with songs that tease their fellow artists, boast about their lifestyle “which most of them can only dream of” and as a tool for attacking other people in their society. This is not the same as the Chikamphulikire hitmaker, for Che Wikise.
Before diving into the nitty-gritty of my discussion, about why Wikise is famous and his popularity never ceases to grow, I would like to say that character is an imperative aspect that a musician has to wear. Character makes the audience to have a clear picture of the type of messages that an artist will give in his or her songs. This also helps audiences that love to hear or read messages of a certain character in the society to easily follow the music of that musician. In the case of the Artist of the year, he depicts himself of the character of a pastor. This is whereby he calls himself Habusa Che Wikise and dresses up like a pastor in all his song by putting on a pastor’s collar and a jacket, and sometimes even reaching a point of carrying a holy Bible, this subconsciously commands the attention of the audience. To some, this is just fun to watch. Apart from character, Wikise’s songs are well interweaved with valuable messages of the character that he depicts to the public.
Beginning with his latest song titled Chikamphulikire, the song carries a message of God’s intervention to all people who wish bad or evil for other people’s success. He does this by asking God to send a bomb to those people who wish evil to other people in society. The artist does this by asking God to send a bomb to those that gossips and destroys other people’s families, bosses that are egoistic to employ or promote their co-workers in organisations, cheaters who are having sexual relations with girlfriends of many men, sex workers who offers their services outside one of Malawi’s top hotels named Cross-Roads Hotel.
In the song titled Nthawi, Wikise gives hope to many Malawians who are struggling to reach their goals in life by envying the lives of other people in society. He does this by warmly telling them that every situation in someone’s life happens based on time and reason.
With the high level of poverty that is making a lot of people to be lacking money in their pockets and opting money for any help they give, this made Wikise acts as social critic in ‘Uli Nzingati?’ where he depicts one of the common behaviours in the society where for many people to assist other they are demanding money. Instead of providing help or assistance on faith-based, it has been noted that many are asking for money, even for simple things that do not demand any money.
In Osamangolubwalubwa, Wikise act as an adviser to the society not to be boastful of the things that they have in their lives rather than being humble and thank God for every blessing that they have been granted in their lives
Apart from such roles he depicts, Wikise also has his styles of singing that is different from others and this makes him very unique in society.
From these songs, one can see why Habusa Che Wikise is so famous in Malawi for all his songs that he has produced and even why he is becoming famous now and again.
His videos also depict local settings such as in the village rather than in cities. This makes him even more popular since more people that listens and watches his songs are those from rural areas than urban areas. This makes people from rural areas to feel that they are being respected and considered as important.
In terms of language, Wikise uses local language which is Chichewa to communicate his messages to the public as compared to other musicians that only uses English in their songs. His usage of Chichewa language in his songs makes his messages to effectively reach his intended audience and be understood as well. Additionally, Wikise uses accent for different tribes in Malawi to send his messages in his songs. You will note that some songs will sound more of Chewa, Tumbuka or Lomwe accent. This symbolically makes the audience to feel respected across Malawi. Also, the use of accent carries the culture of people to the next generation and young people in society.
From such elements in his songs, you will note that the artists keep on gaining more audience every day than other musicians in Malawi. Most people tend to see and feel that he speaks to them when they are listening to his song and this is all because of the inclusion of such elements in his song.