November 27, 2001 was the day a dark cloud fell over Malawi as Evison Matafale, who broke new ground in Malawi music with his reggae vibes, died in police hands. Today, 11 years down the line, the band he founded, Black Missionaries, has vowed to dish out a free show at their Chileka base, not far from where he was interred.
The Chileka Memorial Show, which brings together the largest crowd to a music performance in Malawi, is on at Gadaga. The show also celebrates the life of Musamude Fumulani, who took over the leadership baton from Matafale and Gift Fumulani, the fiery soloist who was backed by the Blacks.
Black Missionaries leader Anjiru Fumulani said the band was confused with Matafaleâ€™s death in police hands after he wrote a hard-hitting letter against some politicians, businessmen and men of religion. Many, he said, thought the mission would go with Matafale.
â€œIt was painful for us, since the man we looked up to as a leader was gone. It is only by Godâ€™s grace that 11 years down the line, we are still moving on with the mission,â€ said Fumulani.
Matafale introduced the Kuimba theme, having recorded Kuimba 1 and Kuimba 2. Currently, the band is in the studios working on Kuimba 9.
During a performance at the Ozone Refreshment Centre in Machinjiri last Sunday, in what could be seen as a dress rehearsal for the Chileka affair this afternoon, the band dished out some of the songs that have defined the Matafale legacy. Songs like 6 Oâ€™clock (which talks about police search for Matafale), Walakwa Chiyani (wondering why Matafale never returned from Lilongwe where he was taken for questioning) and Pepa (where the bandâ€™s remnants are condoled over his death).
On show this afternoon will be some of Malawiâ€™s music giants: Anthony Makondetsa, Maskal, Dan Lu, Edgar ndi Davis, Agorosso, Limbani Banda, Alleluya Band and the Chileka artists Yanjanani Chumbu, Moda Fumulani, Toza Kapito and Khozie Masimbe.