Malawi hip hop icon, David Kalilani’s leaked Osaopa song is trending and has instantly turned him into the man of the moment. The song has been blunt on prophets, and singles out Malawi born South Africa based Prophet, Shepherd Bushiri of the Enlightened Christian Gathering. Among others, he says that Shepherd Bushiri is not a man of God as he claims because he has sex with girls in his church and that his power are from the dark forces, where among others, he sacrifices human beings.
He has been clear about his thoughts in the song against the Prophet. For that he has had to endure a backlash on the Social Media, with people criticizing him for defaming the Prophet through the rumours he rapped about and also by saying that Prophet Shepherd Bushiri will not get to heaven. Most people are saying that he has judged and in Christianity, this only rests with God. Only God has the power to have someone either in hell or paradise.
It seems we have judged the whole of him and his career using one song, which was also unintentionally released. The song was recorded last year, it is said, and he kept it from being released, deliberately. Maybe he felt he was too hard on his subject and it would compromise him as a Christian.
But when one listens to his album, Exodus: The Preview, he will have a picture of who David Kalilani is. The album is autobiographical as he used it to tell his life story of being a successful secular rapper and thanking God for his epiphany. His life changed after that moment and he made some huge sacrifices, leaving fame and fortune, to fulfil the voice of God calling him.
David seems to be a very frank man. He is always honest in his opinions and his approach to spirituality is not that much diplomatic. In the song, Ulendo where he featured the Afro-pop singer, Lawi, a tribute to the fallen rap icon, Wisdom Chitedze, he says that Wisdom died in a way he thought he was heading to heaven. He went on to say that if some of us can die, because of our deeds, we can never get to heaven. He was not being judgemental, but real. In the song Exodus Part 1 he comes in to talk about his conversion. He says he is a changed man and even went on to give out his real Email address for those that would like to hear his testimony.
In the song Nyambo where he featured another gospel rapper, KBG, he raps of the power of music. He thinks secular (rap) music, the same type he used to perform, is contributing to the loss of morality. He advises fellow rappers to take note of whatever they sing. A man who has the courage to rap about a past he regrets in a site of change. In Exodus Part II, he went on to even mention some of the artists by name. He always goes after what he is and uses the clearest language and intentions possible.
And in Psalm 51, one of the stand-out songs in the album, David takes a humble approach before God. He brings back his past in his lyrics and asks God to save him from himself. After he turned to God, David has always been ready to share his past and present weaknesses with the world. He is honest with himself, and this also reflects in how he approaches other people he thinks are acting contrary to the Christian path.
He has been in rap music for close to two decades now and he sounds to be a very polished rapper in terms of brain power and delivery. Looking at his life and worldview after turning to God, Osaopa can be understood as an objective work full of good intentions to whoever was to listen to it. In Alipo, from his album, he raps; “I left secular rap / I want the love of Jesus Christ to be demonstrated / To a world that is dying and contaminated / With the poison of sin that has infiltrated / I wanna see dead men being resurrected / Prisoners of sing being liberated.”
So if you thought in Osaopa David Kalilani had lost his temper and got emotional on Prophet Shepherd Bushiri, his other songs can tell you otherwise. He was the normal self. He has always used what is considered as a violent lyricism in the hip hop world which fits in well with his biblical inspired name from King David, the fearless.
As a born again Christian, who would like to see the world right as it prepares for the second coming of Jesus Christ, he has taken it upon himself to prepare the way by bluntly speaking what he considers as the truth, like in Osaopa.
The question is: are his claims grounded on facts? There is only one way to find out. But what will Part Two bring that he does not say in what was officially released as Bushiri Onyenga? It is for this that people from Malawi and across the region can not be faulted for being in such anticipation for the sequel.
*Mkhutche is a speech writer, a political scientist and a manuscript editor and developer