Lucius Banda might have returned to parliament to reclaim the political honour he lost a few years ago, but as the nation celebrated independence celebrations on Saturday night on the beaches of Lake Malawi in Salima, a vintage performance just reminded all and sundry about his undiminished statute as a music legend and arts icon.
At Livingstonia Beach, the young and restless gathered to witness the DStv-organised arts feast to mark 50 years of independence.
Sports met arts and music as fashion shows, a bwato race on the lake plus music performances from emerging and established stars among them Lulu and the Mathumela Band, Gwamba and Nesnes shared the stage.
But again the big disappointment was the absence of B1 of Zambia who was nowhere near the venue despite being expected to herald the show, leaving organisers clueless of what had happened.
Yet, the fun-seekers’ blushes were soon spared by one of their own. As the star of Son of the Poor Man left the stage way after midnight, it was not in doubt what the night had turned out to be; the inadvertent coronation of the man they fondly call Soldier as the arts star of the 50 years of independence.
“He is a man who has inspired the music world. You cannot discuss arts in the last 50 years and not mention his name,” Multichoice Malawi marketing manager Chimwemwe Nyirenda told revellers after interrupting the show midway to honour the mucian-cum-politician with a special presentation.
But the night was far from just coronation. Here, Lucius Banda and Zembani Band dished out a vintage, energetic and scintillating performance. From old songs from his albums such as Son of the Poor Man and Cease Fire to recent releases, he dazzled as he defied old age to eke out a flawless performance.
“I will not stop singing. I will always be with you and thank you for being with me for the past 50 years. The next 50 years, whether we will be there or not, it’s another opportunity God has given us to do something for our country; to build this nation into a better place for the next generation,” he told the crowd.