You would think that on who is greater, and consequently should emulate from the other, between Robert Chiwamba and Lucius Banda is a settled question. It doesn’t look like it, however.
One of the icons of Malawi music, Lucius Banda, has run out of steam as is evident in his latest single, Takana Abortion, such that to maintain his waning relevance in the discourse of contemporary art he has decided to borrow heavily on the title – and even content – from Takana Mathanyula, a poem performed by Robert Chiwamba.
It is ironic that Soldier Lucius Banda preaches love while urging Malawians to oppose those who love each other:
Ndi mtima wachikondi, tigwirane manja kukanitsisa malamulowa (With a show of love, let us unite to oppose these laws [that aim to decriminalise abortion and homosexuality])…
Lucius makes two speculations that pretend to be facts. Firstly, it is Lucius’ misuse of Genesis 19.
M’ngelo wamphongo anakana kukwatirana ndi mwamuna (the male angels refused to marry a fellow man)
What my good ol’ Soldier ignores in this line is that the angels had not consented to sex with the men of Sodom who had demanded for them. Lucius’ imagination presupposes against the common view that Angels do not marry. Rather, he makes us believe that these angels only refused because those who wanted to sleep or marry them were men; as if they would have agreed were the pursuers female.
It is obvious that, like all those railing against homosexuality using the Bible, Lucius twisted the Bible to suit his own position on homosexuality. Unlike what we see in this Chapter of Genesis, homosexuality involves adults who consent to engage in sexual acts with one another.
The mob in Sodom who demanded for the angels wanted to rape these heavenly visitors. Calls for homosexuality must therefore not be equated with rape; as doing so further undermines the grave nature of rape and what its survivors go through.
Secondly, Lucius makes a common error of argument by masquerading Christian or biblical notions as irrefutable facts.
Tisamatengere zinthuzi, tizipenya komwe tachoka, ndikutali tachoka ndi mulengi wathu (Let us not adopt abortion/homosexuality because we are believers of God).
He urges Malawians to stand firm in Biblical teaching to oppose homosexuality, saying homosexuality is foreign. Ironically, Christians and a majority of religious beliefs in Malawi are foreign: introduced by either Westerners who made way for colonialism and thangata or by Arab traders who were also at the centre of slave trade.
It is for this that should I ever have the chance to meet Soldier, I will ask him as to what position should those who don’t believe in these religious teachings take on homosexuality and abortion.
The song also shows that Mr. Banda has left out his old mojo of standing up for human rights and social justice by adopting a strong conservative, selective position against abortion in a similar manner preached by Robert Chiwamba in Takana Mathanyula.
Atalenga Adam, sanampatse James (When God created Adam, he did not give him James to be his wife) sings Soldier who, at the speed of light, moves from his primary theme of standing against abortion to homosexuality.
No one should therefore be taken to task for renaming the song Takana Mathanyula as abortion only dominates the first verse. The whole song dwells on homosexuality. More like a rendition of Robert Chiwamba’s poem by the same title.