He carries a crazy face and a funny hairstyle; on Twitter, he sounds messy, crude and unthinking. But be advised: Donald J Trump is not any close to such lunatic descriptions.
In fact, if you want to understand the genius that is him, just read his book 'Art of the Deal'.
In the book, Trump, in simple English, reveals how he negotiates and wins big, I mean big, deals; how he destroys his enemies--just everything that made him a billionaire and, also, the most powerful man in the world.
Well, that is Trump.
But have you, for once, thought of this young man called Shepherd Bushiri, a preacher and also an investor? Of course, the immediate reaction from many--just like they did when Trump announced he will contest for the US president--would be to scandalize him with all sorts of disparaging adjectives.
Not only that.
Some, in their layback mode, would hasten to ask easy, very easy, questions on how, in few years, Bushiri has made himself a global personality.
When it comes to Bushiri, it is interesting how we enjoy the bliss of avoiding appreciating apparent signals of brilliance in him. It is interesting how we enjoy filling the gap of our failure to appreciate his visible brilliance by tirelessly spearheading silly, empty and laughable theories to explain his fortune and fame.
But let us face it, ladies and gentlemen: Bushiri, just like Trump, has his Art of the Deal. The young Malawian is a master of the trade and, believe me, we have a genius in him living amongst us.
Those close to him narrates different attributes of him that, to a theorist like me, sums up that Bushiri is a calculative thought leader, a young and overtly ambitious intuitive genius, gifted and shrewd at strategy and fearlessly bold at implementation.
Let me give you an instance.
Just a year ago, the name Bushiri was a symbol of everything wrong.
On social media, both local and international, he was always the topic of mock, ridicule, disdain; always scandalized, a kind of 'dirt-off my shoulder' to borrow rapper Jay-Z's term.
Even mainstream media too.
The name was always projected as 'controversial', often making headlines for being 'rejected', for being in and out 'courts', for being accused of 'scamming people', for being accused of 'laundering money'--just everything.
Governments, too, made bold moves to disassociate with his name.
Malawi tactically blocked everything about him--even his charities. In Botswana, they revoked his visa-free status, they dared to ban his church, so many things. Zimbabwe kept mocking his prophecies, Namibia labelled him a con artist and Zambia threatened to close his mines.
Indeed, the name Bushiri wasn't a name to be associated with. It represented a brand of shame, a symbol of rot--something that had to be crashed, damned, nipped in the bud and, easily put, destroyed.
Yet against all odds, Bushiri soldiered on. He never faltered. He kept on preaching and growing his church and, most importantly, speaking his truth quietly.
Those that met/meet him in person, tell a story of a man, strange in character, who hardly appeared fazed or concerned with all the rot going around his name. They say he always look jovial, forgiving, prayerful, always talking about God, about family, about his business and, of course, his ministry. Nothing else.
Well, it appears such an attitude is working for him.
Just look around his name, today.
There hasn't been, of course, a complete turnaround regarding perceptions people have around his name. However, it would take a first rate pessimist to dispute a visible change in the way the name Bushiri was viewed a year ago with the way it is perceived now.
Governments are inviting him to high profile meetings--making their investment ambassadors. Business magnates keep calling for partnerships. Social media is full of his praise and defense.
Mainstream media colour their front page with every step he takes. His church continue to quadruple. Celebrities and powerful personalities can't stop gracing his church. Once his vowed critics are now eating on the same table with him.
It wouldn't be an understatement to argue that the name Bushiri, slowly but steadily, is acquiring a new name, a fresh brand that many want to associate with.
Of course, the immediate question is: What strategy was he using, or he is using, to manage this mindset shift? However, the larger question is: Still in his mid-thirties, where is he taking his achievements to? He must be up to something big. But what could that be?
By the way, I hear Bushiri is a great admirer of Trump and he reads and follows Trump extensively.