The spirits at Sapitwa peak must have had a pleasant treat of thobwa that Saturday afternoon. When musician Lawi and Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Michael Usi made the excursion to the highest spot in southern central Africa at 3002 metres above sea level, the temperature did not drop below 10 degrees as it sometimes does when the spirits are angry.
On this day, the spirits allowed Lawi, carrying the banner of the Voice of the Mountain, to play two songs; The Whistling Song and Zitsulo to about 80 nature enthusiasts at the summit, who had joined the three-day trek to boost tourism and raise awareness on environmental degradation on the mountain, dubbed Malawi’s Island in the Sky.
It was no easy trek. The previous day, the hikers departed the foot of the mountain at Likhubula at 6am, climbing up the steep slopes of the mountain, gripped by the breath-taking views and drinking water from sparkling natural pools before reaching Chisepo Hut, about eight hours later. They spent the night at the hut, one of 10 on the mountain.
In an interview at the summit after a three-hour hike from Chisepo, Lawi could not hide his happiness.
“Ndimaona kuchedwa [I couldn’t wait],” said the artist, who ironically has a song titled Amaona Kuchedwa, where among others, he sings about how an impatient persona trekked to Mulanje on foot.
For him, it was not just a journey to speak out for the mountain. It was also a time to get inspired.
“There can never be music without nature,” he said.
Before Lawi took to that peculiar stage with that spectacular beacon behind him, Agorosso, the Sena vibe aficionado, had warmed up the strings. And then, Usi, an actor of repute, brought out his own comical skits.
You would think that treat to music and comedy was enough. Music by the bonfire later that night, after another four hours back to Chisepo, would make you rethink your thinking.
Here, Lawi, who had just flown in from South Africa, played songs that unveil his name. This was to the amusement of the audience, especially with Agorosso showing his skill on percussions to add flavour to Lawi’s songs.
It was so much fun that some patrons asked if the trek can be an annual event.
“Yes, we will be talking on how we can make the event annually. It is a pleasant idea,” said Usi.
Mulanje district commissioner Stallichi Mwambiwa said history was made during the trek.
Describing the trek as a launch of the brand, Mervis Maigwa, an organiser and one of the female hikers, said plans to make the event every year are on the cards.