Seasoned musician Billy Kaunda has written an autobiography, Hills and Valleys. The book chronicles the singer-cum-politician’s life from his childhood days to the present.
Hills and Valleys mirrors Kaunda’s life from CheMboma in Blantyre where he took his baby steps in his singing career as a member of Baptist Church choir. According to the book, Kaunda joined various choirs in Blantyre before recording solo albums which flopped.
In 1997, Kaunda went to Balaka where he joined Lucius Banda’s Zembani Band after recording his chart-topping album Mwapinduranji? However, group dynamics did not allow him to stay long at his new home. He left the same year and led the Kaligo Melodies Band before forming his own Armageddon Band where he recorded three successful albums Alibe Mau, Muyime Kaye and Dandaulo Limveke, according to the autobiography.
The book, co-authored by Wonderful Mkhutche, pays special focus to events that followed after Kaunda’s 2002 masterpiece Agalatiya; Mwataya Chipangano which was highly critical of Bakili Muluzi’s United Democratic Front-led government.
Mkhutche said in an interview: “That album made him an enemy of the State. He was being hunted by State agents and there were several attempts on his life. But he was lucky to survive them all to tell his story today.”
He said the project started early this year after the two met and explored the possibility of recording events surrounding Kaunda’s life, the struggles he has overcome, his rise to stardom as a musician and his transformation into a politician.
“The other part reflects on his experience as a politician, especially winning consecutively in two different constituencies. We look at how that was possible and the reason behind some of the political decisions he made,” Mkhutche said.
In a separate interview, Kaunda said working on the self-sponsored project was exciting to him personally as it allowed him to open up on issues that he hardly shares with people.
Kaunda said: “People ask me so many questions about my life both as a musician and politician. This book has almost everything about my life. I believe I have a story to tell.”
The singer and composer said it is high time prominent figures embraced the habit of sharing their life stories in such journals to allow others get inspiration.
The book will be published by Montfort Media and the official release date is November 3. Kaunda is member of Parliament for Mzimba West while Mkhutche is a renowned arts enthusiast and social commentator.