People from all walks of life are today expected to gather at the Robins Park in Blantyre for funeral service of one of the country biggest gospel musician, Grace Chinga.
Led by artists who have travelled from almost all corners of the country, the service is expected to start at 8 am, according to another musician, Thoko Katimba.
“In celebrating her life, musicians in the country have joined hands to give her a befitting farewell by according her funeral service, that arguably, has never been held in Malawi.
“Grace did not only belong to her family and church or musicians,
She belonged to many and it is necessary to accord her a dignified
funeral which will also see many people attending,” said Katimba.
He added: “For this reason, the main funeral service will take place on Saturday at Robins Park where tributes and performances will take place before burial at HHI cemetery. We have chosen Robins because it is one of the venues were we have been holding shows together with Grace.”
According to postings in gospel musicians forum on WhatsApp, scores of artists from both the northern as well as central region, have been travelling to Blantyre for the burial.
When Grace Chinga wrote “South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia,DRC. Thank you for supporting #Ndzaulura. Malawi wait for the double albums coming out shortly,” on Facebook on 15th March, little did she knew that was her last update.
The following day she had a headache and close to two hours later, the musician was pronounced dead upon arrival at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre.
Ndzaulura title track was released late last year and was produced her
son, Steve Spesho. The afro-dance fused smash hit received a resounding response as for weeks, it maintained the top spot of various radio music charts.
Proudly labeled as Malawi’s Rebecca Malope, Chinga needs no
introduction in Malawian gospel circles as she shot in the limelight
in 1998. She was the leading voice of the first album, Uleke, of the
defunct All Angels Choir.
Her first album had the popular song, Thandizo Langa, which catapulted her music career as the song, not only brought her more fame and money but awards as well.
Swimming in that success, Chinga was hit by divorce which turned to be
among the most publicized marriage annulment cases in Malawi. It was
arguably her most trying moment.
But Grace sprung out of her forced hibernation due to criticism from
the general public as two years later in 2010, she released probably
her best ever album, Udzayimba Nyimbo.
The title track was seemingly a self-redemption song, with prophetic
connotations as she sung one day she will sing a song.
It was assumed as an indirect platform used to give herself belief, courage and perseverance that one day, she will come out stronger than before.
The messaging in the whole album centered on the theme of hope which resultantly, made it easy for people to relate with the songs.
It was actually this album that earned her the name, the
Malope moniker due to the musician’s vocal prowess, physical looks as well as hairstyle, just like the South African.
Six years down the line without an album, Grace still remained
relevant both among fellow artists as well as gospel music lovers.
Ironically, since Grace was almost everywhere performing, on March 26, she, together with King James Phiri as well as Katimba, were scheduled to hold an Easter Gospel Show at the Great Hall in Zomba
Born on June 25, 1978, Chinga, is survived by three children; two boys and a girl.
As she is being laid to rest, Grace can afford a smile as her single, Ndzaulura, continues to preach the gospel at different places; bars, clubs and different events like weddings and engagement ceremonies as well as more radio stations.