Musicians from the Southern Region on Saturday commemorated the World Music Day in style when they turned microphones into tools to raise awareness on human rights violations, especially against persons with albinism.
The musicians, who were later joined by some poets, marched from Blantyre Old Town Hall through Cathlica Institute (CI) to Kenyatta Drive and ended up at Kanjedza Primary School football ground where the main event took place.
From Dan- Lu to Favoured Martha, Ethel Kamwendo to Piksy, Princess Chitsulo to Frank Atcheya Naligonje, Neligo Women’s Choir to Limbani Simenti and poet Wamtali Savala Gogoda to Papa Mtume, the event brought together artists of various genres for a common cause.
World Music Day, also popularly known as Fête de la Musique, started in Paris in 1982 to make music free and accessible to everyone.
Today, it is celebrated on June 21 in 460 cities around the world.
But vice-president of Musicians Union of Malawi (MUM) Martha Pingasa alias Favoured Martha said artists in the country thought it wise to commemorate this year’s event with a march against human rights violations of persons with albinism.
Currently, Malawi is facing rising cases of killings, abductions and exhumations of graves of persons with albinism.
“Music is a basic human right and a powerful tool for social change. It is for this reason that MUM decided to commemorate this year’s World Music Day by raising awareness on the human rights abuse against persons with albinism,” said Pingasa.
Commemorated under the theme Together: We Can Protect Them, the event saw artists employing and dedicating different works of art to persons with albinism.
Other artists who joined the commemoration included singer Allan Jogi and Waliko Makhala.
However, Makhala decried poor representation of musicians, saying they should be educated on the importance of taking part on issues of national importance.
“To be honest, I am not pleased with the turn up of musicians at this event. There is need for civic education so that the country’s artists know their rights and responsibilities in the country.
“Southern Region has big names in music that would have attended this event and make a difference,” said Makhala.
On his part, chairperson of MUM Southern Region Chapter Papa Mtume said the event fulfilled its objective.
“While it is important for musicians to attend meetings and other events of national importance like this, some excused themselves. So, we had to understand them. But I urge them to participate on issues of national building,” said Mtume.
The event was organised in collaboration with the Southern Region Police Headquarters.