Ritaa, and to all female artists in Malawi

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The coming of Ritaa on the Malawi music scene, especially through her recent collaboration with Dan Lu in the Chapatali hit song, has once again ignited the debate on the dressing of our female artists. On the cover art of the song, she is dressed only in a black bra and underwear, and with an unbuttoned blue robe that has exposed all her legs and thighs. This has not gone well with some people.

Malawi Music which  was given exclusive rights to release the song that has now charted as one of the most downloaded also used the said cover art. This attracted all sorts of unpleasant words from people, especially the male followers of Malawi music. Some even went on to the extent of calling her a prostitute and suggested that the picture is not proper in a God fearing nation like Malawi.

Is Ritaa Malawi's Kim Kardashian

Ritaa breaks the internet with both her music & outfit

In a place like Malawi, such comments cannot be avoided. For the past years, people were used to the ‘Malawian’ kind of dressing from artists. But in the said years, males were dominating the music scene and one would not normally expect a dressing from a male artist, in 1999, for example, to raise eyebrows. The few females that were involved in secular music were shaped by the culture the males were using in their music careers. In addition, the society then was not opened to the now trending kind of artistic dressing.

Music is changing, and so should our approach be to it. Albums are rarely being released in Malawi urban music. Artists are opting for singles which are being treated like an album when one looks at the promotion of the song as well as the song having its own cover art.

Years ago, a cover art for an album was mostly the expression of the title track and, among others, represented the concept of the work. With the releasing of singles, cover arts are being used as expressions of what the song is about. There is creativeness in terms of this and that largely reflects how our music industry is growing.

I do not intend to explain the cover art for Ritaa. The aim of this article is to back her cover art, whatever expression it had. The point is that people must learn to separate the artist from the person. As an artist, one has the freedom to express herself. This can be done through body movement, the words and also picture, as she did.

The picture does not intent to send the message that she is a prostitute, as others are saying. Again, it has turned boring to explain this: Malawi is not a God fearing nation! This should sink in the minds of some people because they use this lie to control the behavior of others.

If someone wants to be God fearing, let it be personal, and not force it upon others. And more, someone choosing to express herself, more over an artist, is an action that transcends the normal world. The challenge is when using this normal world to look at an art. You can never decode the message. If you want to understand art, be ready to move out of whatever perceptions you may have..

That is what the people who misjudged Ritaa lacked: They were lazy to think of the cover art as an artistic expression and a sign that music is being used as the tool to open up our society to different expressions.

We should all thank the coming of urban music. Malawi is being exposed to the progressive world through it. There should be nothing like ‘Malawian culture’, an understanding that has always pulled us backwards as far as catching up with the rest of the world is concerned. Culture does not make people. People make culture.

What Ritaa has experienced puts off most girls who want to give [urban] music a shot. The few that have suffered such abuses and still carried on are the rare breed of girls who always have their heads up. The art industry in Malawi is generally not receptive to females. But still, some are breaking though the barrier and stretching the limits.

But it should not stop there. Female artists must also learn to hit back at critics. The general response from them has been sitting back and let the critics lead the talk on their trade. But change will happen if they start owning whatever they do, and even if one decides to come up with a naked cover art, she must own the decision, explain and defend it. You should never allow yourself to be at the mercy of people who look down upon you because they misunderstand your art. That is not your problem. It is theirs.

Again, pushing something unacceptable into being accepted requires boldness. For an artist who deals with the public through music, she has to be ready to face such words from people and respond whenever necessary to show that you own the covert art, for example, and given the chance, you can do it again.

It helps in putting off some people. Female artists should not expect the space for their maneuvering to be created by any other person. They are the people rightly placed to do that.

Lastly, there is a need for more cover arts like that from Ritaa. The continual use of such kind of expressions will help in letting it sink into people that it is normal for a female artist to use her body as an expression. When people talk against it, let it keep on coming until the limits are stretched to accommodate urban music in all its diversities.

Ritaa, I fully support your cover art. Next time, if you feel like coming up with a similar one, be assured, you have me on your side.

*Wonderful Mkhutche is a speech writer, a political scientist and a manuscript developer and editor.

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210 Comments

  1. Iam nt saying tht Ritta is fyn bt wat i feel z tht according to What Ritta’s side z gud as far as her style z concern,can u tell me tht mkaz wa hiljab sapanga chigololo sagona patchire kapena ku rest house pena zikavuta kuyala hiljab yo? Kapena amayi amvano kumsonkhano kapena kulikonse kuzembelana ndi anzawo amumpingo? Simunaonepo msikana womvala mpaka mmapazi akuyala msalu yake kuchita zadama? Ritta kungovala choncho nkhani paliponse koma akanakhala bwamuswe kumbali et? Amene sanachimweko apitlize ku dzudzula Ritta

  2. Zero.sometymz ..zimafunika nzeru topic ikutti..chaa ….stupid .xaalbino xipite wex entaintment ..lero ..dan lu ndi huleyo alowe m bwalo ..tinve zimenezo..stupid

  3. I dont like her song. I dont think there’s anything wrong with her dressing though. I think we need to embrace the fact that ours is a free country and stop using our benchmark to judge others

  4. Rita to beat about the bush ur dressing isgood for nothing even if,I like ur rnb songs.ur emulation to western female musician dressing does not match ur country of origin,

  5. Its not about 21st century you people nor 70c but now we are end of this so called boring earth and those who are in Christ are able to see what’s really happening in the name of change and technology don’t waste your time on this just be with your God at heart leave the rest for devil

  6. Mmmm very bad,y atsikAna tufuna kunyatsitsa dzina ndi dziko lathu?plz let us do az God children not this nonsese behavier,amzathuwo amakhala nditanthauzo komanso zolinga pamavalidwe amenewa

  7. I dnt thnk is somethng to condemn or critisize. why r we living in de past, its abt de moment we go wth de tym we cnt b left back. above all she is a celebrity she is just doin what she knws better in de industry. Umbuli chani, shame on us!

  8. I dnt thnk is somethng to condemn or critisize. why r we living in de past, its abt de moment we go wth de tym we cnt b left back. above all she is a celebrity she is just doin what she knws better in de industry. Umbuli chani, shame on us!

  9. men,,,u been paid 4 promo ya truk yi nde hw do u think u wil attack her in any way???ur story is biased…hahaha hw wud u feel if u saw ur mom dressed that way???kod ndekut the only way galz get our attention ndikuvura bas??doesnt sangie hav fanz??do u see her kumangovura paliponse???to hel with u and ur moden ways…ngat umamfuna rita yo i hop ukugwirad when she sees this…ine i wil stil lyk that song even akanapanda kuvura..,the truk is dope…so y bother exposing herself lyk that…next tym wen u writing a story,,dnt come up with ur fallacies…mnakakhara bwana wako straight up ur fired

  10. These celebrity bitches are here to devalue our cultural values. Malawi is not U S A , so that u must bring ur nudity on platform like nicki minaj of this world.

  11. We don’t buy music coz of dressing but the massage in it simple.I respect my culture en i love my mum en Dad for being real Malawian sadavaleko modula

  12. The picture does not intent to send the message that she is a prostitute, as others are saying. Again, it has turned boring to explain this: Malawi is not a God fearing nation! This should sink in the minds of some people because they use this lie to control the behavior of others.
    If someone wants to be God fearing, let it be personal, and not force it upon others. And more, someone choosing to express herself, more over an artist, is an action that transcends the normal world.✌

  13. Just accept that we r living in a global village ,go everywhere around the globe u will find such dressin among ladies,,even in moslem countries u will fynd models these days,,lets move with tym,,we can live in isolation because of culture,,wake up Malawi.

  14. guys… leave her alone..it chioce on how to wear… on stuff.. if its culture. nde azi mayi anu muwaletse ma leggins and short stuff.. kma we are envolving so elder sme tmes u dnt get us youth why we lyk crazy stuff in ur youth nanu u dd copy stuff too ma plat foam and flayer u dd tht.. kma wat we need z understanding our today envorment… if cnt understand us then u cnt get the whole world… kma mumafuna muziona zakunja kumati zabwino… malawi… kalawe ananena kale kti most of us sititha kuyamikira zathu kma zakwa aneba and others …

  15. Whether u say 1920s or 2016s,,, this is Malawi not USA and we will never be. We have our own culture, style, basics. Lets stick to it, the problem is copy catting.

  16. Nobody has the right to point at one’s character…its her life, her choice, when she decided to be an artist you weren’t there, when she worked hard to reach where she is you weren’t there either, why bothered as if she z ur niece…who perfect guys moyo walerowu?? Why judging so much malawi be wise

  17. music is all about money so don’t blame this cute as if amadya culture yanuyo besides ife amene timamvela nyimbo timafuna zimenezo…this is 2016 not 19allan namoko.

  18. Sindingagule zovulazo!shit!I think she z mad,dressing on public lyk dat?Owerenga nkhala maso usakomedwe ndi za dziko kweza maso kuti uone!

  19. to us who read revelation in the Bible understand what is going on now and bible words are not useless are live words and whatever they say must happen

  20. All of u who are saying ndi hule ndinu osazindikira,if a may ask kodi makolo anu ankavala zobisa miyendo ? suja ankavala zikopa za nyama miyendo pa ntunda zovala mwaziziwa liti? # kkk

  21. All of u who are saying ndi hule ndinu osazindikira,if a may ask kodi makolo anu ankavala zobisa miyendo ? suja ankavala zikopa za nyama miyendo pa ntunda zovala mwaziziwa liti? # kkk

  22. 1994 gave freedom to all PROSTITUTES to dress as they please & I’m certain ‘you were there’. Every face tells a story & so is every deed reflects your background.

  23. 1994 gave freedom to all PROSTITUTES to dress as they please & I’m certain ‘you were there’. Every face tells a story & so is every deed reflects your background.

  24. This is now the Stage where malawi is(Sodom & Gomorah)>>kwinaku anthu kukwatirana amuna kapena akazi okhaokha this is “REAL TIME OF THE END…!!!”

  25. This is now the Stage where malawi is(Sodom & Gomorah)>>kwinaku anthu kukwatirana amuna kapena akazi okhaokha this is “REAL TIME OF THE END…!!!”

  26. Jst know dat ophunzira amaposa ophunzitxa,.anatiphunzitxa mavalidwe auchitxiluwa kuja uko pano tayambaso kuposa eniwo ndimdede wathuwu amalawi…

  27. Amalawi chimidz bwanj artist asaphe swagga baxi mumvekere fwefwefwe ahahaha a malawi leave leave dat dope galz alone chimidz bwanj mudzapita kunja inu kma?…kkkk

    • Thats the comment i was expecting…. A malwi we are busy promoting other peoples culture n failing to preserve ours… dont think azungu will copy from ur culture…… ngati kuvula kuli chitauni nde ee tabwereraso mu nthawi ya uncivilised ya Adam ndi Hava yomwe amkangobisa ma bere ndi maliseche…

    • Offcorse Wakamba zanzeru bt de question u shud ask urself z dat ” de type of de muzik dey du z it of our culture?” malawianz hv oredy copied othr ppoz culture if u malawianz wntd 2 promote our culture thn mukadamatenga ma artist oymba za lokolo en put dem 2 light kma nah 1 cn du dat bcoz u r de 1st ppo 2 like these urban muzik, xo let den kip it urban…

  28. Amalawi chimidz bwanj artist asaphe swagga baxi mumvekere fwefwefwe ahahaha a malawi leave leave dat dope galz alone chimidz bwanj mudzapita kunja inu kma?…kkkk

  29. U ppo talking culture??? Really?……..4getting clothes are fro western countries, makolo athu tu ankangobisa around the waist and chest (women)……men wld only cover the waist.That was the original culture .

  30. U ppo talking culture??? Really?……..4getting clothes are fro western countries, makolo athu tu ankangobisa around the waist and chest (women)……men wld only cover the waist.That was the original culture .

  31. Inu kunyanja kuja akaz amakhala avala choncho kumene pagulu nd even f pa tv atamawonexa faz yomwe inakasangalala kunyanja amawonexa zomwezi ndie zaxiana pat aaa mukusiya nyasi zanu mumachita kuseli zija muoneke ngat abwino apa zankutuuu azivula kumene tizionako kaya a aaa.

  32. Inu kunyanja kuja akaz amakhala avala choncho kumene pagulu nd even f pa tv atamawonexa faz yomwe inakasangalala kunyanja amawonexa zomwezi ndie zaxiana pat aaa mukusiya nyasi zanu mumachita kuseli zija muoneke ngat abwino apa zankutuuu azivula kumene tizionako kaya a aaa.

  33. vuto ndila kuti voyipa sizivuta kutengela ndizimenezo we akuombela mmanja uchitsilu.dziko lilironse lili ndichikhalidwe chake .izi sichikhalidwe chathu.mutionongela wana pls

  34. she wanted to her punan to us dressing matters guys don’t lie that in South Africa wewe wewe wewe no see the dressing style they dress don’t be stupid osamakopela zopanda ntchto amay ake nd hule

  35. palibe vuto apa koma kt amalawi maybe kutsalira we don’t wanna go forward, bwanji simunena za Mampi pa Zambia pompa, kodi mmafuna chitukuko chake chiti, this is modern world stop living in de past plz I beg and even mungokomenta nkhani simudawerengeso bkz nkhaniyi ikubakila Ritaa kutsusana ndinu anthu mukuti Malawi iz a God fearing country, tsiyanisani btn Personal life and artistic life

  36. palibe vuto apa koma kt amalawi maybe kutsalira we don’t wanna go forward, bwanji simunena za Mampi pa Zambia pompa, kodi mmafuna chitukuko chake chiti, this is modern world stop living in de past plz I beg and even mungokomenta nkhani simudawerengeso bkz nkhaniyi ikubakila Ritaa kutsusana ndinu anthu mukuti Malawi iz a God fearing country, tsiyanisani btn Personal life and artistic life

  37. mm pali khani apa???? mufuna azivala ukulu ukulu ngati nd wa gospel iyeyo? mesa nd secular music kodi nde u’ll talk en talk reaving the critical.issues we as malawi r facing going wasting time talking bout how someone has to dress..

  38. wake up you ignorant malawian men,dis is the 21st century we are nt in 1980,s or 70,s evry1 has the right to dress the way she feels makes her comfortable vuto lobadwira ndikukulira ku malawi osayendako

  39. Eeee guyz basi kuvalaku kwafalikira mwina zimangosowa oyambitsa tachitani check pa malawi24 ndiyeno muone mmene veejay ice cover yomwe waika pa new hit yake

  40. Let us all accept that malawi ws warm heart of africa but now I don’t know the name we can call malawi,we r failling to copy the ways how some countries around us get developed instead we r busy copying useless behaviours from the countries that r associated with satanism such as dressing lyk this, eating and drinking strainge things and killing of albinos etc. Ndiye ena mkumaombera manja nyatsi ngat zimenezi oky go on but u must know where malawi was, where is and where it will b 5 yrs to come

  41. Paja anaimba kale kut uhure ndi mtima,this is fashion,ku south africa this is a desent dressing,tinazolowera. Thats we call cerebrity. Akanavala nationala wear mukanalemba zaiye ngat? Mene mwateromu mwamutchukitsa coz wina aliyense azikhala ndi chidwi choona,then aliyense afuna kumvera nyimboyo. This is wat we call best for busness

  42. People with This Disease ‘Hivaids’ don’t care panja akuti boyfriend wake alinako eti.

    Chabwino sicheyenda pa Mbalambanda

  43. Amalawi vuto ndi hiyani kodi apa? Simesa munthuyu wavala kodi tamawonaniko anzathu pa jozi pompa mmene akuvalira, komanso ma show a Rihana eeeesh ngati muli ndi ma dish mudziwonelanso trace tv

  44. Prostitution is the act of exchanging money for sex. It has nothing to do with how a woman dresses or how she looks period. Lets not get too excited and call on malawian culture when ever it suits us. Lets not mention the lords name in vain just because we are trying to appear God fearing. Most of you drink, sleep with prostitutes, lye, gossip, cheat on your wives, and dont even go to church. Yet lero mukufuna kuyima pachulu and pass judgement shame on you. This is secular music not gospel music, in the secular relm for you to sell music you have to market a brand and that brand is yourself. She is just being an entertainer relax people. Ngati mukufuna malawian culture just listen to gospel but dont start bringing that culture shit into secular music.

  45. Chonsecho wina akangoika post kuti muike number zanu akagaireni some pornographic material nomwenu muli busy apa condemning ndi omwenso mmakhala go one, talk of hypocrisy

  46. Nyimbo ngat siyabwno sikuti ingakome coz u r half naked, i lyk chekecheke thwa singer, hilco, nyimbo yabwno komanso kuvala kodzilemekeza. Menemuja ndimomwe amalawi timavalira, olo itapita pa international level ingapele picture ya chikhalidwe pakavaldwe ka amalawi.

  47. Mmmmm females love showing their nudeness than men.Most of them think they look most beautiful when naked.They arrogantly call it to be modern.Amakonda kuonetsa umaliseche wawo eee.Palinso wina Zani Challe nayenso.

  48. This is worse than being gay!
    What do you expect from the girls who would listen to her song? Ameneyo cholinga chake sichofuna kuyimba koma kuphunxisa uhure!

  49. Amalawi, chilichose kunyoza basi?? tamayamikilaniko zina pls osamakhala ndi mtima wa kaduka. ndichifukwa chache dzikolathu silipita patsogolo.

  50. hahahaha! To become famous ain’t easy in todays world…talent alone siingapushe ngini..kaya zanu zimenezo

  51. this is pure sodom and Gomorrah.end times we r not surprised. little by little.the trail of the devil.WE ARE ABOUT TO EXPERIENCE THE COMING OF THE LORD.WATCH AND SEE

  52. i rily sapot [email protected] Wondeful has sed.de prblem wif malawianz z dat we owez tolk lyk ndife olungama kwambiri pamene sichoncho iyayi.dea z no conection btw prostitute ndi cover ya photo yakeyo.We r livin in a world of technology wea by tinz r changin every single minute.ndichifukwa chake tikukanika kulima ndi matractor koma kukhulupilila makasu pamene azathu akulima ndi matractor.ife kukolola ndi kamodzi pachaka pamene azathu ndi kawiri .tidzingotsalilabe pazithu zoti ndizosavuta kupanga.

  53. Sure👍…that’s jxt half porn, shz almost naked, nde poti akut tizienda ndi dziko zinthu zikusintha, but God has no reason to reverse His Constitution… Musieni osamuweruza thats God’s duty.

  54. Thats what we call internationalising cover photo. anthu ena kuwona zithunzi zachochi u are saying ndi hule koma sangakuloreni even collabration. thumb up to our female artist. next time do more than that.

  55. Just looked at the length of this ‘essay supposed to be article’ and my appetite immediately vanished! Believe me it’s all vain arguments and pure crap!

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