Entertainment

John Mulenga’s gifted hands

Art Yak with CHANDA MWENYA
JOHN Mulenga, aka Banner-man, might not ring a bell in the main stream art circles.
But Banner-man is a household name in the sign-writing and shoe-mending arena, at least among Lusaka consumers.
Dropping out of school in the ninth grade at Chifubu Boys Secondary School in Ndola, John turned to his natural creative talent to make ends meet.
There was no better place for John to establish his trade than Lusaka city.
In 2007, armed only with his talent, the ambitious John headed for the capital city where the demand for his service was imminent.
John secured a space on the fringes of Independence Avenue to ploy his trade. It goes without saying that John is part of the horde of vendors around Lusaka’s Kamwala trading area.
But how did John earn his Banner-man title? Well, it all started with his involvement in sign- writing and manning banners in Kamwala.
Arguably, most banners currently displayed around Kamwala shopping area have passed through the gifted hands of one Banner-man.
The art of street sign-writing usually involves graphical composition of commercial messages on a broad sheet for public display.
It could be a commercial massage to announce a discount at a local shop, or sale of property or the announcement of an artist’s performance.
And with the growing commercial trends in our contemporary society, the demand for sign-writers’ services is on the rise.
Some of the notable local artistes who have announced their shows through Banner–man include Mampi, K-Millian and Danny ‘Kaya’.
Other than doing sign-writing, Banner-man is a full-fledged shoe-maker. It is another creative way through which John makes his talent to make ends meet.
John is one of the ambitious youths that have remained productive by developing their creative talents despite dropping out of school.

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