Musician Billy Kaunda has released his autobiography as an artist, before becoming a politician.
Hills and Valleys follows decades of Kaunda’s music prowess despite ending up in the industry accidentally.
The book, he said in an interview, was authored together with writer Wonderful Mkhutche.
“It is my life story, from my days as a child in Che Mboma, Blantyre to the Billy Kaunda people came to know as a musician and politician.
“It has detailed the long walk and its ups and downs,” he said.
Kaunda of the Mphinjika fame said he went on to learn music and believed it was his path.
He said: “It was unpopular to be a musician back then. But the boy in the story believed it was his destiny and resiliently gave it a try.”
Kaunda said the book is in response to demands from several people wishing to know more about his life story.
“They said some could learn from how I made it. I was always thinking about it until I met biographer Wonderful Mkhutche. With help from family and friends, for stories I had forgotten, we have now made the book possible,” he added.
The artist says there are many interesting aspects in the book, especially how the he forced himself into music when most people were against the idea.
“How I managed to survive when the State was pursuing me. How I consecutively won in two constituencies. There are fine details to how all this happened and readers will like them,” he explained.
In 2002, Kaunda released an album—his controversial work to date— which was an attack on the United Democratic Front regime.
“Most people ask me questions such as why I left Zembani Band and how I survived the pursuit of the State when I released Mwataya Chipangano (Agalatiya). The book has these stories in their details as some of the details in my music journey,” he said.
Other highlights are how, after forcing himself into music, Kaunda went on to perform with some of South African big names such as Jambo, who have impacted his career.
“I like it that people will read about Captain Kelly. Those of older generation will remember this man. He had a huge influence on me as a musician. They will also read about how I grew up admiring South African Reggae icon, Jambo, until one day I shared a stage with him in Mzuzu.
“I have travelled far and wide in Malawi in my career as a musician. I have met wonderful people and some of their stories are in the book as well,” he says.
In a separate interview, Mkhutche says the book has 250 pages so that it is not tedious for readers.
“The book has detailed the less-known details of Billy Kaunda’s life.
Most people have known him through his songs, but there are stories behind the artist we have been listening to for over two decades.
“The book is coming from his views, perceptions and feelings. There are always questions on why he left Zembani Band so early. He has never discussed the issue in public and this time people will get the answers,” he said.
Being printed and published by Montfort Media, Hills and Valleys will be available on April 30 in bookshops across the country as well as neighbouring countries.