She was known as Malawi’s Queen of Soul and in other circles as Malawi’s Mbilia Bel. No doubt the history of music in Malawi would be incomplete without mentioning the contributions of Maria Chidzanja Nkhoma.
That is why the legendary artist will join four others to be celebrated by the Musicians Association of Malawi (MAM) women’s desk for their contributions to music in the country.
Chidzanja Nkhoma, Ethel Kamwendo Banda, Eliza Kachali Kaunda, Chimwemwe Mizaya and Catherine Kayange will be honoured at a fundraising dinner and dance at Sunbird Capital in Lilongwe, where former Big Brother Africa Malawi representative Natasha Ann Tonthola will be the director of ceremonies.
“Whether directly or indirectly, they have done a lot in the promotion of Malawi music and are still active years down the line,” said MAM women’s desk welfare chairperson Harriet Msungama.
“They deserve the awards. They are good examples to both the young and old musically and in so many ways. The women’s desk chose these people with the help of two independent people, Bernard Kwilimbe who is the director of culture in the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and legendary musician Chimwemwe Chikusa,” she explained.
While Chidzanja Nkhoma is being honoured for being the legend that many continue to look up to, Kayange is being honoured for her role in promoting traditional music in the Northern Region, Kamwendo Banda for remaining firm in her music career which started in the 80s as a secular artist and has now earned herself respect for being a vibrant gospel musician.
Mizaya, on the other hand, will be recognised for the role she continues to play in teaching children music apart from sustaining her singing career whereas Kachali Kaunda is being honoured for her role in establishing the women’s desk which had not been there for years despite musicians having their own body.
Apart from top musicians such as Lucius Banda, Vitta Chirwa and Kalimba Band, Chimwemwe Mhango, The Roots Band of the Bambo a Tereza fame and various female artists spicing up the event, Kamwendo Banda and Kachali Kaunda will also perform.
The dinner and dance expects to raise a targeted K8.5 million for the smooth running of the women’s desk activities, which is riddled by several challenges.