An exploration of love lyrics by Evison Matafale, and the The Black Missionaries.
Derrida’s theory of deconstruction remains one of the predominant and relevant theories in the enhancement of the understanding of literary works. The theory argues that a text may possess so many different meanings that it cannot have a definite meaning. Derrida argues that; ‘The centre of the structure is paradoxically within the structure and outside it. The centre is the centre of the totality, and yet, since the centre does not belong to the totality, the totality has its centre elsewhere. The centre is not the centre’.
This theory seeks to subvert, dismantle and destroy the notion that a text or signifying system has any boundaries, margins, coherence, unity, determinate meaning, truth or identity. As such the original meaning that a text carries is destroyed and a new one is created. Derrida argues that the meaning of a text is not easily arrived at because any text is made up of several tissues. As such a text is caught into the trap of intertextuality for the text to generate meaning. In intertextuality texts speak to each other.
This line of reasoning is what has provoked Roland Barthez to come up with dialogism. In dialogism some texts speak and listen to the voices of each other and such texts are called ‘writerly’. Therefore they cannot be isolated in the quest to generate meaning. In doing this, the original meaning gets destroyed resulting into what Barthez call ‘The death of the author’.
It is in this perspective that some songs sung by Evison Matafale, and The Black Missionaries have not been spared in this article.The tracks Nkhawa bi, Zaka Zonsezi, Undikonde, Ndamusowa, Dalo and Tidzingocheza have been hitting the airwaves but little does the audience realise that these pieces are what we call in literature as ‘writerly’ meaning that they speak to each other hence becoming victims of intertextuality. In these songs Matafale and the Black Missionaries bring to us two lovebirds whose love is sailing through troubled waters. These songs are in Kuimba 1, 2, 3, 4, 8 and 10 respectively.
The emergence of Evison Matafale in the year 2000 ushered a new direction of Reggae Music in Malawi with Nkhawa bi emerging as one of the hitting love song. In this song the artist brings to us two love birds whose love is so strong, typical of a love at its tender age.
Through some lines the artist shows us that these love birds are fond of each other and that their love affair is characterised by jealousy to such an extent that the man feels irritated the moment the girl is with someone else. “Ndikakuwona ukuyankhula ndi ena ndimangoti mwina akukufuna. Makamaka ukamawasekerera, ndimangoti mkazi uja wapita, ine Nkhawa bi.” This is the voice of a loving heart, committed but insecure. Is this feeling of insecurity genuine or not?
“Zaka zonsezi” in Kuimba 2 which was released a year later vindicates the fears and insecurity possessed by the man in Kuimba 1. In this track the artist demonstrates to us that a deep fracture has been created in the love of the two. It shows that this love is now failing to take off the ground after sharing joyous moments of promises and assurances.
The man seems to be disillusioned and frustrated. His feeling of insecurity is justified here. “Ndipakamwa pako unanena wekha iwe! Kuti umandikonda nanga lero bwanji?” This is a statement of a spouse whose heart is bruised and in deep agony. Anyway, the man loves the lady.
After the demise of Matafale, The Black Missionaries continued the story with the track “Undikonde” released in 2003. This is a bargaining lyric. If one listens to it with a third ear, he will realise that the man is attempting to straighten the fracture which “Zaka Zonsezi” created. He is probing to the woman to love him as she used before. “Ngati umakonda undikonde ine”. This line shows that he doesn’t want to give up. But what could perhaps be the source of this love problem? Perhaps this line will give us a response; “Chikondi chakale chosawona chuma! Ndi mbiri yakale, zonsezo zidatha!” I guess the woman is materialistic. What do you think yourself? But will the man manage to rearrange the seats on this sinking Titanic?
I think Kuimba 4 has a better response to this. Here the track “Ndamusowa” is the dramatization of the restoration of the fractured love. The love which was enjoyed in Kuimba 1 has been rejuvenated. Through the artist the man ,confesses to us that they love each other. This is good! “Ndamusowa ine wokondedwa wangayo! Ndimamukonda, amandikondanso!” However, this line shows that they are far away from each other but they still have feelings for each other. Will this status continue? What do you think? Who is this woman by the way?
Here is the bombshell “Dalo’ in Kuimba 8. A track which has come to reveal that hypocrisy has been the source of this troubled love. All along, the name of the lady has been withheld. But here we hear that “Dalo” is her name. She is being found in various places of entertainment with other men e.g the lakeside. “Anthu ena andiwuza dzuro amuwona. Ali ndi mwamuna ulendo wakunyanja! Usathamangira chuma kunja kunaopsa! Kuli nthenda yopanda mankhwala Dalo udzandifuna!” Another vindication comes here again. Materialism has finally killed this love. However the man still loves her as the following lines reveal; “Dalo ndiwe wokongola! Mafuko ndithu wagometsa! Dalo usandipitilire”. But will he bargain for the second time as he did in Kuimba 3 in the track “Undikonde” to restore the love?
Enough is enough! There comes a time in life when one is fed up. The only option is to quit. The man has indeed surrendered in Kuimba 10. He can no longer bear the pain. Dalo has done enough to him. They must part ways. “Tidzingocheza” in Kuimba 10 has finally provided a psychotherapy. The man finally resolves that they should just be friends. “Lero basi! Ndadziwa! Tidzingocheza usandikumbutse zachikondi chomwe unkandipatsa!” Deal sealed here! However the man still seems to have feelings for Dalo. No wonder he wants them to be friends. Will he manage to breakaway with Dalo as we have seen him failing in the preceding songs?
From a psychological point of view, the songs present the agony of many people young and old who fail to let it go. People who fail to leave the past and move on. People who fail to replace some people because they think they cannot be replaced. Are you moving on or you are failing to let the past be the past? Mufuna muzingocheza kapena zachibwana simufuna?
To be continued………………………………………………………………………………………….
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