A trip to Liwonde for one of his modelling exploits has given birth to a song.
We Are From Liwonde is a song that afro-vibe artist Peter Mawanga has recorded with children from across Malawi, who were attending this year’s Children in the Wilderness Camp.
Every year, for a month, Wilderness Safari’s Malawi closes its business places—lodges and other facilities to the paying guests and opens them for children’s educational camps.
The children camps are run at Mvuu Camp in Liwonde, Chintheche Inn in Nkhata Bay and Chelinda Lodge and Camp in Nyika National Park, Rumphi.
It is at the Mvuu Camp camp that Mawanga was invited as one of the models and used his time to come up with a song with the about 30 children in camp.
“We are young conservationists and were born and brought up in Liwonde. As lovers of nature, we would like to travel wide and long. This time we will go north of Malawi and we will use MV Illala to take us to Likoma Island. We will be travelling while telling people that our motto is Conservation. We will be inviting more and more people to join what we have come to believe in, as we make our way through CITW programme,” that’s the key message in the song.
“When they invited me, they expected me to perform for the kids, but I don’t believe in performing for the sake of it. So, in the four hours of my session, I took the children through the song-making process,” Mawanga explained.
To illustrate the process, Mawanga set-up a makeshift recording studio.
“The most exciting part was that most of the children were getting interested to see how the recording is done. I had the song mixed and done during the night and the kids could not believe it when they heard the song on the speakers. It was a perfect way to end their camp. By going through that process, I am certain some of them have been inspired to take music as a career,” explained the artist in an interview.
Each kid has been given a CD of the song as a souvenir.
“This is the highlight of the festive season for me, the best gift I could give; sharing my creative side with kids. It is up to the Wilderness Safaris to see what to do with the song apart from sharing it with the kids,” he said.
Central African Wilderness Safaris marketing manager Richard Carpenter said the artist’s approach will have a lasting impression on the children as they have a song to remember everything that happened at the camp.
“Peter was invited to this year’s camp programme as a role model. Within his first four hours with children in camp, they managed to compose the song after he found that among the 28 children aged between 11 and 13, there were so many talents waiting to be put in right practice. He quickly identified drum beaters and many more specific talents in music.
“Apart from looking at specific talents, he managed to organise all the children to take part in the song composition, singing and recording. The song was recorded and edited right there in Camp using his mini studio. By morning next day, the song was out and children loved dancing and singing along to their own tune. They called Mawanga a magic worker as they did not believe that they could have their message and voice in a song, and on a CD for that matter. Children were very proud of themselves and thanked Peter for his magical talents,” said Carpenter.
Children in the Wilderness is a programme initiated by Hollywood actor late Paul Newman after he visited Wilderness Safaris Botswana in 2000.
Apart from the children’s camps, Children in the Wilderness runs Eco-Clubs in 17 primary schools around the areas it is running tourism businesses. Eco-Clubs are more like Wildlife Clubs but with more extended curriculum which also includes social and leadership development.
Since the programme started in 2003, it has benefited 1 400 children in Malawi.
“Although much of the impact is expected in the long terms through facilitating sustainable conservation, there are a number of impacts realised when one tries to measure programs activities across.
“The knowledge gained, the understanding, the love and the willingness of being active initiators and players in sustainable conservation and social development is no mean achievement.
“Eco-Club members for example every year, voluntarily take part in bush clearing the Liwonde national park boundary as well as raising over 100 000 seedlings of different tree species. The trees are later on donated to local communities to establish woodlots,” explained Carpenter.