America ndi yonse bho! Mkaka mkaka [America is good. It is a land of milk and honey]. This is how veteran musician Giddes Chalamanda summed up his trip upon arrival yesterday from his United States of America (USA) tour.
Giddes and his crew, comprising acoustic duo of Edgar ndi Davis, singer Chimwemwe Maloya and guitarist Uncle Lai, disembarked from a South African Airways (SAA) plane at exactly 12:30 pm.
There was a sense of drama from the beginning as journalists from different media houses set their gadgets, ready to interview the legendary musician, but he was nowhere to be seen on the line of passengers disembarking.
And the aeroplane was getting empty with fans and other bystanders getting agitated and wondering if the musicians had missed the flight.
But as people started whispering and growing anxious, Giddes and his crew started appearing from the doorway. Giddes was the first to alight from the plane, attracting cheers from the people.
Although looking tired after the long flight, Giddes was full of sweet stories to share about his US trip.
“Malawians in the US are friendly and they are civilised. They were not only excited to see me, but also gave me a warm welcome,” he said.
He also thanked business person Mike Chilewe of Mike’s Trading and others for ensuring that his dream to visit USA came true.
He added that he was treated like a hero while in the US, a development which forced him to question the conduct of Malawians who are fond of respecting their heroes when they are dead.
“I am at a loss for words because the treatment that I received in the US was awesome. Even the white people were amazed to see me. I can’t wait for another trip to continue from where I have left,” he said.
Among other notable things that Giddes will cherish from his US tour are the banjo, clothes and donation for his church project in Chiradzulu.
“I have bought a banjo at around $250 [about K176 000] in the US and I am also excited to report that people have helped to raise some money for a church project in my home village,” he said, before he was driven off in a blue Mercedes Benz.
On his part, Davis Njobvu described the trip as valuable not only to Giddes, but Malawi as a whole.
“We are talking about fulfilling the dream of Giddes Chalamanda, but the trip presents enormous benefits to Malawi because his music and history of Malawi have been documented at the Library of Congress,” said Njobvu.