Business at Chileka Airport in Blantyre yesterday nearly came to a standstill when veteran musician Giddes Chalamanda attracted media and fans’ frenzy before and when embarking on a South African Airways (SAA) on his journey to the United States of America (US).
Donning a black suit, Giddes looked chic to the admiration of people at the airport.
Some admirers, especially Davis Njobvu’s family, gave the crew full support when they wore ‘Giddes and Edgar Ndi Davis’ branded T-shirts.
Some travellers, including staff of Chileka Airport, could not resist greeting or waving at Giddes who was all smiles. Some were seen peeping through the windows and doors of their offices to catch a clear glimpse of the veteran musician of Chemeli fame.
The pomp which Giddes was given by the people that turned up for his send-off compensated another blow he suffered when he was denied a VIP treatment as the organisers of his trip had wished. The management said they did not receive any advance booking; hence, the development.
Another last minute disappointment was cooking when members of the media, including few admirers, were denied access to the airfield until Minister of Sports and Culture Grace Chiume intervened.
Giddes was over the moon from the moment he arrived at the airport until boarding the plane.
To cap it all, Giddes performed an acapella of his Buffalo Soldier, a song which inspired his dream to visit the US.
“I am excited that my dream has been fulfilled today. When I arrive in America, I will tell everyone that ‘here I am’,” said Giddes.
Giddes is in a team of seven other people namely; Chimwemwe Maloya, Uncle Layi, Edgar Kachere, Davis Njobvu, drummer Amos Mlolowah and Patience Namadingo and his manager Tonderai Banda who left earlier on Monday.
Among other places, Giddes is expected to visit the US Library of Congress in Washington DC and Indiana where Malawians have lined up a number of activities to interact with him.