Art thrives on the absurd, on the concept of ideas being allowed to roam and run wild, on the inhibited mind, on freedom, on liberty and autonomy.
It is for this reason, more than anything else, that autocratic regimes, in seeking to silence dissent, will silence the artist first.
Dictators, both present and past, imaginary and real, dread artists' bravery and, often, a valiant artist will spend more time in a prison cell than on stage.
In Malawi, in ages past, the Censorship Board has been used to censor the artist and to ensure that this voice of rebellion does not get heard by many.
But this was part of Malawi's history that many thought we had buried and forgotten.
Last weekend's arrest on stage of dramatist Thlupego Chisiza seems to have rekindled some really bad memories and had people asking what the relevance of submitting scripts to the Censorship Board is?
Thlupego was arrested on stage at Nanzikambe Theatre space in Naperi, Blantyre and was found guilty of an offence of staging a play Semo without permission from the Censorship Board according to Section 14 of the Censorship Act.
Chief Resident Magistrate Nyakwawa Usiwa Usiwa found the dramatist guilty and fined him K5,000 which he duly paid before being set free.
The arrest of departed theatre maestro Du Chisiza's son sparked a fury of reactions on social networks with several people commenting on Facebook.
With an air of art and sarcasm, Dannie Grant Phiri wrote: "I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the Police and the Censorship Board because without their actions some of us would've been blissfully unaware that Thlupego Chisiza had produced a play that has powers that be very very uncomfortable. Now we're seriously looking for the script."
Thlupego's grandmother – the mother to the late Dunduzu Chisiza Jnr – was visibly incensed, saying she was shocked with the arrest of her grandson.
"This is my first time to experience this, I never saw this in the time of Du and yet he used to write several plays hitting at governments. I see this as a political ploy but all the same he is free.
Although Thlupego says he submitted the script of his satirical play, which delves into the current economic problems the country is facing, the Censorship Board says clearly it did not receive the script. But then what's all this fuss about submitting a script?
How important is the move? Does the Censorship Board monitor every event by drama groups in the country and has the institution been that transparent on this or did they target Thlupego's play because it was political?
Censorship Board's Chief Censoring Officer Humphreys Mpondaminga, who led the team that arrested Thlupego, says stage plays are one form of public entertainment which is regulated by his institution.
'Chisiza’s arrest opens a can of worms'
"It is important for drama groups to submit their scripts because what is in a stage play can, for instance, offend people and we usually do that to protect those offended. Some plays might even incite public disorder so we need to scrutinise them," said Mpondaminga.
He said, as an institution, they call for scripts to look at the contents stressing that some scripts may contain obscene language. The board also checks whether the content does not infringe on religious beliefs or is inciting public disorder.
But why did the Censorship Board take time to wait for Thlupego's performance and pounce on him on stage and not stop it earlier?
"I wouldn't say that we delayed, the blame should go to the organisers. As I said we are struggling with organisers. We do our best to send requests to follow regulations as regards Section 14 but we are avoided. We should not be taking issues to them but they need to approach us but it has been the opposite," explains the Chief Censoring Officer.
"We did not want to go far on Sunday otherwise we had the mandate to arrest even the host and even the actors because they were involved. All we are saying is follow procedures and this applies to not only organisers for drama but all other fields," he said.
He ruled out any political games on Thlupego's arrest, saying that the actor did not submit his script hence they decided to take action when he went ahead with the performance.
Renowned dramatist and Chancellor College lecturer Smith Likongwe says censorship or no censorship; artists need to be given the freedom to practice their trade.
Many drama groups have also complained that they do not get their scripts in time once they submit them, forcing them to go ahead. But Mpondaminga is adamant, saying that used to happen in the past and that now they have staff.
Thlupego's arrest also comes hot on the heels of the summoning, by the board, of Nanzikambe Arts Theatre when they staged their production The Frogs which also tackles current political problems including the fuel shortages.
Nanzikambe today stages another production The Story of the Tiger which Theatre Director Thoko Kapiri says has already passed through the censors.
"We have had all our productions classified and permits obtained well in advance of any show. As we speak, we already have the classification certificate and entertainment permit for the show," he said.
Kapiri, who has directed the play which is enacted by Geoffrey Mbene, notes that there have been so many plays shown to audiences without undergoing the due classification and permission process.
"I should say that the play by Thlupego was particularly targeted for stoppage largely because it focuses on the ills of the current regime," says Kapiri.
He adds that the arrests are common for those that dread even their own shadows "because if you do not have skeletons in your cupboard, why would you go about stifling creativity in a democratic dispensation through arrests of artists over plays that mirror what is happening in society and echo the cries of millions of Malawians countrywide?"
Kapiri also observes that artists have become lax in terms of censorship.
"This is because, as you know, there was heavy censorship during the first republic and it completely went during Bakili Muluzi's era only to re-emerge with a force that sort of negates the very essence of democracy," he said.
With the challenge, artists just have to present the scripts and see who will be at fault, otherwise Thlupego seems to have stepped on a livewire and soon or later something will come out.
But Thlupego is not daunted by the arrest. He said that he would take the script to the Censorship Board again before making another.
In case you missed out, the play Semo, spelt backwards as 'Mose' was written by Thlupego and firebrand Polytechnic student Robert Chasowa who was found dead on campus under mysterious circumstances. It is a story set in an imaginary kingdom called Kwayera Kwacha which was being led by a king who was once loved by many people and was therefore nicknamed 'Mose.'
This courageous king did transform Kwayera Kwacha from poverty towards the path of prosperity but after a few years, the king unbelievably changed from zero corruption tolerant kind of person to a Mr Know it all, a dictator and a reckless leader.