• Lorraine Johnson

[48] A Little Drop Of Spirit

Abilio Lovane lived in the small village of Mpadwe on the outskirts of the city of Tete. On the day I met him, he was to play his nyanga—a traditional flute made with vertical pieces of reed joined together.


Before he started to play, he asked me—the stranger—to please provide his "spirit."


We brought him badwa—a traditional beer. "A little bit is all I need," he said.


Nthotho wanvula ukadodera pa nguwo, munthu umbavera kudjedjera.

If a little water drops on your leg, you can feel it.


And then he played. He played his nyanga, and he played it according to the situation that had since come to pass. "We play our reality, it's what we feel," he said.


He sang about war. It was 1993.