WITH a guitar the length of his height firmly clutched in his hands, Mordecai Munjoma proved that age is but just a number, just as the legendary Hugh Masekela had done last Sunday.
Masekela, 74, brought the house down in Victoria Falls Town across the bridge and so did Mordecai on Wednesday in Livingstone.
The difference is that Mordecai is only 10 years old. Basic arithmetic shows he is 64 years younger than the South African jazz expert.
While Hugh has traversed the world and shared the stage with some of the finest musicians, Mordecai is an upstart who could easily be dismissed. What with his unassuming demeanour!
But hey, wait a minute; the lad has the world ahead of him.
The trajectory of his voice, his magical fingers and sheer stage art were engaging and emotionally-touching. The transition of his melodious voice from low to high pitch was soul-enriching.
When he humbly said ‘thank you’ after a three-minute show, everyone had long been enchanted and the young boy had marketed himself to the world.
More importantly perhaps, he had made the world understand the abundance of talent in Zambia. Call it music tourism and it fits.
Had his idol Jimi Hendrix attended this closing ceremony of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation general assembly at the Royal Livingstone Hotel, he would have lavished the boy with superlatives.
A blend of cheering and clapping from the delegates and others confirmed the quality of Mordecai’s performance. Add the whispering waters from the Zambezi River at the foot of the hotel and you get the aggregated sweet sound. And this was no ordinary audience; two presidents and their wives were at the high table and so were other dignitaries.
UNWTO secretary-general Taleb Rifai remarked: How could anybody say anything after Mordecai?
“The future, the fresh future of Zambia, was on the stage a few minutes ago, you can feel it, you can read it.”
Don’t mind the presence of the multiple award winners Amayenge Cultural Ensemble. The memory for most delegates was not about the Amayenge, the overdressed likishi or ground-stomping Gule Wamkulu. Theirs is ordinary stuff you have seen before. The night belonged to Mordecai!
But he didn’t seem to know it. Asked how he felt playing before 1,000 or so people including Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and Zambia’s President Sata, Mordecai simply said: It’s nice.
And it was nice for sure.
Zambia Daily Mail – From CHAPADONGO LUNGU in Livingstone