A prophet is without honour in his homeland and this anecdote seems to be not further from the truth.
While the Malawian iconic music legend and Afro-jazz maestro Wambali Mkandawire seems to be forgotten for his prominence and enormity last weekend Black Entertainment in Film, Fashion, Television, Arts and Sports Awards (Beffta) bestowed upon him a prestigious ‘Special African Music Legend’ award at a star-studded red-carpet event marked with pomp and grandeur held at the Central Hall Westminster in London.
The country’s music prodigy, Wambali Mkandawire, was honoured in absentia and his gong was accepted in his absence by UK-based Nyasa Times online journalist, Thom Chiumia as Wambali’s music played in the backgroud.
In a telephone interview, Malawi’s evergreen ethno-music kingpin, Wambali told The Nation that he was very delighted but also humbled for the great honour bestowed on him and for being recognised by Beffta Awards.
“I am so honoured to receive this award. I am so humbled. It is heartening to be recognised. I thank Beffta for the honour. This achievement, I hope will go a long way in putting Malawi and its music industry on the map,” said the soft-spoken Wambali.
The Nkhujipeleka hit-maker, Wambali who doubles as a pastor explained that all things are possible with God’s grace and encouraged up and coming artists in the country to work hard and put God first in all their endeavours.
Said Wambali: “It is humbling to come tops as an African music legend. There is a plethora of talent in the African country and I urge the up and coming musicians in the country to heavily invest their time and hard work into their music and always to put God first in all they do. Africa is a rich continent in terms of music and dance. I thank God for the gift of life and the talent,” said Wambali.
Malawi dominated this year’s prestigious Beffta than any other country in the world and astoundingly swept five medal awards at an alluring ceremony held at the weekend at Central Hall Westminster in London.
However, Malawians this year subjugated the glamorous and glitzy 7th Beffta Awards with a staggering number of nominations in an assortment of categories at least five Malawians went home with medals at the star-studded event which attracted superstars and Very Important Persons (VIPs) drawn from the US, Africa, Canada, UK, the Caribbean and the rest of Europe.
A galaxy of superstars from various disciplines turned up in large numbers and graced the auspicious occasion as Beffta honoured and celebrated global talented personalities in entertainment, film, fashion, television, arts and sports.
Nyasa Times was named ahead of many online publications in Europe, US, Caribbean and Africa as the best online publication of the year while its editorial director and columnist, Thom Chiumia was decorated as the journalist of year.
Birmingham-based Malawian stylist and fashion designer Dama Phiri of Dama Fashion line was decorated as the best fashion designer of the year beating hordes of fashion designers across the globe.
Blantyre City Centre, Namalimwe Ward counsellor, Gertrude Chirambo and former Vice chairperson for Malawi Association UK (MAUK) received a honourary Leadership and Excellency award for her humanitarian and charitable contributions to the world.
The Leadership and Excellency award which Chirambo received was previously given to British actor and comedian Sir Lenny Henry, legendary British Broadcaster Sir Trevor McDonalds and America’s music mogul and celebrated producer Quincy Jones.
Miss Malawi UK director, Kondi Bowoyeke Munthali, hair stylists Phyllis Chipojola and Thungaye Nhlane, MC Steve Chijota and Pamtengo online radio and photographer Dave Sazuze were all nominated for Beffta Awards, but did not take home the gongs.
Beffta Awards also honoured football legend and former Chelsea football Didier Drogba, the twice African footballer of the year but now plying his trade in the US with a special honorary award The Beffta Humanitarian Award.
Beffta Awards are Europe’s biggest awards ceremony and were established in 2009 with a singular endeavour to recognize, celebrate and honour black and ethnic personalities in entertainment, film, fashion, television and arts.
This year as it celebrates its seven years of existence, Beffta is set to release a special edition of Beffta Magazine called Beffta Hall Of Fame Edition.
Beffta awards was founded by entrepreneur, TV presenter and philanthropist Pauline Long to celebrate greatness within the African and Caribbean community and fully funded by the media personality.
“This year is extremely special, we have gone an extra mile to recognise more talent and in the spirit of giving back to the community everybody including the nominees will receive special prizes,” said Pauline Long. n