Re-living Evison Matafale Part III


In his ‘Time Mark’ he refers to the terrorists as a ‘Whip’ used by God to punish the world. And there is no way a whip can claim victory and overtake the authority of the one using it.
In part the ‘Time Mark’ goes; “It’s everybody’s concern, just by the name of building World Trade centre; more over who will tell me, which Nation on earth does not have its people in America.
Now hear Rasta word, despise it buy hey! Devine piece of advice, This mysterious fall was long dreamt already by King Nebuchadnezzar and I am Rasta Daniel, And I am only here to finish up the revelation, The World of Today, Made up of Iron and Clay, this Kingdom is never to last.”
And talking of Prophecy, in unreleased album which Matafale was working on at the time of his death Kuimba III (Singing III), he had prophesised his demise already in a track “Police Man-hunt Matafale’.
He also warned of the far reaching repercussions if Malawi is to bow down to the current government’s pressure on people to change the constitution in order to accommodate a third presidential term against the constitutionally mandated two, just for the incumbent president, the track was ‘Third Term’.
Matafale whom it is believed died fighting for his rights once told Radion101 FM that he had been standing up for his rights ever since he was at a tender age, hence never wanted to be oppressed or suppresses for his mission was to fight for people’s rights, therefore he had to protect his rights first.
People do not agree that the last time Matafale tried to do the standing up, he did it the wrong way and got crushed, posing arguments; it is the flesh that was crushed and not the Spirit.
Commenting on the radio chart show regarding the abundance of his talents and composing skills, Matafale played it modesty again, saying he never sat down and composed songs but believed God just used to give him, he said it was the reason he never denied when people called him a prophet.
“This talent is God’s work…I do not think I sit down and compose music, I just receive it, as of now I’ve got too much of it to sing…” he seemed wrongly envisioning before recollecting it prophetically “If God gives me this lot of work, yet the world system is to record an album, may be ten songs every year; that’s why we say Rasta will live forever, because we shall always sing this music which God want us to sing; even in the new kingdom we gonna be singing.”
I hope he is really singing, just like Bob Marley. The irony is that Matafale has become Malawi’s Bob Marley figure. He has instantly become a role model, his songs so worth, his influence on other musicians so immense.
To reinforce the assertion of his Bob like influence a certain Kenyan printing Company has produced Matafale on its 2002 calendar standing side by side with Reggae King himself Bob Marley, to testify that he was also Malawi’s own undisputed King of Reggae and Prophet of Jah, destroyed in flesh by Babylon’s ‘shit stem’.
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Stopping the Usage of Bushes for Toilets


By Gregory Gondwe

The rainy season is here again in Malawi and as usual it is expected to be a mixed bag of fortunes and misfortunes. In Malawi and the world over, farming is largely dependent on annual rains.

Good as they are, the rains also come with catastrophes such as waterborne diseases.

I discovered that poor sanitary practices are to blame for recurrence of avoidable diseases such as Cholera and diarrhea each rainy season.

To emphasise the need for toilets, November 19 is World Toilet day, but when I travelled to Mzimba and Nkhatabay what I saw there is that in this day and age, some people still have no regard for conventional toilets.
They still use surrounding bushes.

There are no toilets in Lelemba Mkandawire Village in Mzimba district and Mrs. Jane Nyirenda who comes from the village across says this is not strange as there are none in her village too.

She acknowledges though, that during the rainy season, there are many cases of diarrhea.

In fact, until this visit, the people of her village failed to link the fact that they had no toilets and drank from unprotected water sources to the rise in diarrheal cases among them.

“We can not differentiate the difference between the goodness and badness of practices that are in force in our village. Now that we have learnt this, i think it is imperative that we construct toilets so that we can enjoy long and health life.

All along, the people of Lelemba Mkandawire Village blamed their status on poverty.

Here is where an initiative was hatched to enlighten the community on the importance of good sanitary behaviors as a measure to prevent communicable diseases such as diarrheal infections.

Mr. Dickens Mvula is Health Surveillance Assistant working in this area.

“They spend lots of money when caring for the patients or their relatives instead of using those money for the development of their villages,” he says.

The initiative called Water Sanitation and Hygiene Education – WASH-rolled out in 14 districts throughout Malawi in a joint sanitation coverage project between government and the United Nations Children Fund –UNICEF.

Among the beneficiary districts are Chitipa, Mzimba, Nkhatabay, Likoma, Lilongwe, Kasungu, Dowa, Mchinji, Salima, Blantyre, Mangochi and Mwanza.

Director of Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion Mr. Mc Lawrence Green Mpasa explains why government ventured into this project.

“The government of Malawi upon being consulted identified the need to improve sanitation coverage as paramount and in response to that request, Unicelf put aside 6million Dollars ,” said Mr. Mpasa

Mr. Mpasa says in executing the project, officials employ participatory hygiene; sanitation transformation and sanitation marketing.

Through these approaches, communities are able to identify sanitation needs and determine solutions and also the technologies to employ as they move on up the sanitation ladder.

The enforcement of the initiative has not only been left to government and UNICEF. Other independent bodies such as the Malawi Public Health Association have joined the war.

Since 2007, the association has been carrying out similar work in Nkhatabay district with funding from a sister association in Canada.

“There was a lot of outbreaks of cholera, diahorhea, and malaria but since the Malawi Public Health Association went in that area, there have been no cases,” said Mr. Edward Kayange Northern Region District Coordinator, Malawi Public Health Association.

One unique approach to enhancing sanitation in rural communities in Malawi is dubbed Community Led Total Sanitation in which people answer questions to make sanitary decisions.

UNICEF Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Education Officer Mr. Symon Msukwa said the Water Sanitation and Hygiene Education – WASH initiative across the country is meant to provide sanitation services to communities so that preventable deaths of children are avoided.

“We go to the communities, we learn from them on various aspects and one of them being where exactly they go to dispose off their feaces.

“We do not use diplomatic terms like excreta or whatever, we call it ‘SHIT’ so once the community realize that they eat their own shit, there is shame in them ,” said Mr. Msukwa.

According to the National Statistics Office figures for 2008 Population and Housing census, 15.8 percent of people of Mzimba district did not have access to basic sanitation. This year, however, the WASH Project has provided basic sanitation to over 65, 000 people in schools and communities.

“It looks as time goes by, many people are becoming aware of the project and the response from the community is so massive. More people are demanding the services of the WASH project,” said Mr. Chrispin Dambula WASH Project Coordinator for Mzimba.

While Mzimba continues to struggle to ensure that people change their mindset and see the importance of owning sanitary facilities such as toilets, protected water sources and dumpsites, the story is different in Mchinji district where they employ a rather weird means.

Mchinji district Water and Environmental Coordinator Mr. Thomas Mchipha says initially, his office had to train extension workers on issues relating to sanitation before adopting one unique and unconventional approach to ensuring that everyone uses toilets to relieve themselves.

“We are much using the TAs and the group village headmen to enforce by-laws like to stone using catapults any body whom they see defecating openly within the villages,” said Mr. Mchipha

May be Mzimba does not have to buy catapults to get everybody in the toilets. They simply have to remember that ‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness’

Children, who are most vulnerable to communicable diseases such as cholera and diarrhea, are the ones UNICEF first aims to protect in this whole exercise. Is it not sad that these habits have not spared children both in school and out of school?

Tom Mkandawire is eight years old. To him, a bush is a toilet because that is the culture where he lives.

“Yes! I use the bush,” said Tom Mkandawire.

Here, a society is breeding chaos for the future. Tom may never build his own toilet. zodiak online

Re-living Evison Matafale Part II


The pathologist described his death as having been caused by ‘traumatic injuries’. One of the then famous local Newspaper columnists JIKA NKOLOKOSA now at MIJ described the out-come of both inquiries as having been concluded from a bizarre logic.
The columnist wrote in one of his Malawi News column and I quote. “Both inquiries concluded that he (Matafale) died of natural causes. In short, Matafale was ill when the police arrested him and anything they did to him in custody could not be blamed for his death; he was ill and was going to die anyway.
On the strength of this bizarre logic, the police cannot be held responsible for Matafale’s death. Consequently, nobody should take the rap of his death”
The dust seem to have settled, in the hearts of the masses, a belief still lingers, rumour is still milling that the government killed Matafale, but clouded and in the process hidden the truth, which one day will be unveiled.
Matafale wrote the president a letter which he also intended to distribute across the country using what he called ‘the powers of JAH ushered to his prophets’ (as like Peter Tosh, he believed himself to be a prophet placed in the same calibre of Jeremiah, Daniel and others) in the in the letter he warned the government of the final fall of Babylon.
In that letter, which the government thought had completely retrieved from public possession, Matafale accused the president, his ministers and officials as Babylon in the process tools drinking on human blood and serving the devil.
In that letter the Malawian Rasta singer also castigated the Roman Catholic Church, the Islamic faith, the present Israel state, America and Britain, using biblical verses and prophecies which warned these institutions pending destruction.
To prove that he had more than a musical and spiritual prodigy Matafale, released a track just five day after the 11th September American ferocious disaster in which he described it as fulfilment of the prophecy. He called this track ‘TIME MARK’.
On the track, he said by the way of the track JAH sent one of his final warnings to remind man king of the end of times and that Jah is about to conquer.
Telling 101 power FM few days before his death Matafale said the track was not for America alone but for the whole world, because it was everybody’s concern by just the name of world Trade Centre not America Trade centre.
He told a radio DK Patrick Kamkwatira; ‘your economy, my economy, our, secrets were there, but the fire just came ad brought it down’.
Matafale again condemned the terrorists who popped champagne corks in celebration of the New York contretemps, that there was no victor for them.
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Re-living Evison Matafale Part I


In the next three weeks I will take you through the life of one of Malawi’s controversial reggae maestro Evison Matafale who died on November 27 in 2002.
In the subsequent issues we will re-live the life of Matafale and look at many unanswered questions about his life and death through a research that the Professor took time to engage into.
Today, you cannot talk of Malawian reggae without mentioning the name of one Evison Matafale much as we cannot talk of world reggae without canonizing the reggae king Jamaican Bob Marley.
So far, Matafale is the only musician in Malawi to achieve a considerable stature by using a type of reggae whose fibrous lyrical content and vocal output has been so appearing to any normal conscience.
His mysterious death in the wee hours of Nov 27 2002 at the age of 33 found that he had established himself already as a fastidious equal rights fighter, who like another Jamaican reggae legend Peter Tosh, had a personality and songs whose lyrical contents carried unquenchable sense of fury, cynicism, irony and both a poetic and direct nature.
Matafale whom Malawians ensconced in reverence because of the way he used to upend what was in his creative and innovative swell is regarded with a kind of veneration only given to Rt. Hon. Robert Nesta Marley O.M.
The Rasta musician who only came on the lime light in 1998 when he released his first Album KUIMBA 1(SINGING) single handedly struggled against the political system and eventually it is widely believed, he was crushed by the political jaws when he trodden the so called political no go zones.
Malawi government claims Matafale died of natural causes, when he passed on to our progenitors while under the police custody. He was arrested for penning down a letter to the state President, which the government described treasonous, defamatory and a tirade.
The musical career for Matafale was epitomized by the release of his second album, Kuimba 2 (Singing 2) which proved him a Rasta with a mission and whose voluminous potency each and every single Malawian talked about.
His death, therefore, caused pandemonium across the country’s social broad face and people accused government of having something to do with his death, after failing to accommodate his acid truthfulness, presented in a sober probity.
Popular pressure left government no room of space and the president was forced to institute investigations, which were to be carried out by a Human Rights Commission besides another presidential commission.
Strangely, five months later, the two commissions came out with two identical reports, claiming Matafale died a natural death despite the fact that the autopsy showed he was badly beaten and clubbed while in police custody.
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Malawi Starts Hotel Grading


By Gregory Gondwe

Malawi‘s hotels will now be classified by stars after the country launched hotel grading system this week.

Minister of Tourism Dr. Ken Lipenga said the stars will range from one to five, depending on the quality of their facilities and services.

During the launch of the grading system in Lilongwe Dr. Lipenga said government expects the grading system to raise the quality of tourist accommodation in the country.

He said God already made the country a five star country with Lake Malawi, Nyika Plateau, Mulanje Mountain, the friendliness of Malawi and the leadership the country.

“All we need now is to extend the five star services to tourism facilities and our services,” said Lipenga.

Dr. Lipenga called on the locals to be the first ones to protest against poor services in hotels if the hotel grading system has to work.

“This could transform the face of tourism in the country if consumers take the lead in demanding for the hotels to live up to their grading,” he said.

Patricia Liabuba the assistant director of tourism said under the grading system which is based on European and Southern African standards, a team of assessors from the Ministry of Tourism will conduct rigorous audits on major hotels and lodges.

“After the audit, which could take them up to three days on each unit, the assessors will report their findings and make recommendations of what grade each one should be given to the grading committee comprising government, private sector and consumer representative which will award the grades,” she said.

The team will look at everything including physical and service characteristics such as the external outlook and surroundings, gardens, parking spaces, the reception area and the attitude and efficiency of staff working there, the bedrooms and the décor, furniture and furnishings, bed linen, temperature control, spaciousness, accessories such as television and the channels they have, bathrooms, kitchen, public areas and the general atmosphere and ambience of the unit.

Liabuba said with the grading system, a hotel will now be called hotel while a lodge will be called lodge, based on the characteristics and standards it has. No one will just wake up, construct a place and call it a hotel.

Within the next twelve months, over 100 top accommodation units are set to be assessed and graded and the first batch of graded units will be announced by the end of this month and it will comprising the well known hotels in Blantyre and Lilongwe.

Malawi Tourism Association Chair Stan Phiri and Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) executive director John Kapito said hotel grading has been long overdue in Malawi, saying the industry welcomes the development as it will motivate them to improve their facilities.

“Members of the tourism industry need to cooperate with the authorities in the assessment and grading process of their places,” said Phiri.

STAND UP MALAWI URBAN MUSIC


Ken Wako alias ‘Shawishe’ Yes, Shawishe is not a stranger in the entertainment cycles. The same would be said about Chimwemwe ‘Mr. C’ Chikwana and Cliff ‘Cliffitonium’ Kawanga.
Shawishe says the three have teamed up with a number of foreign big names in music business in a project that will include names of the likes of 50Cent and Vybz Kartel, Philadelphia bred rhyme veteran Vinnie Paz of the group Jedi Mind Tricks, One of Zambia’s biggest rapper C4 and Shakira with Lil Wayne where they are going to launch the country’s urban music to cozy heights.
If I am to be asked what Urban Music is; would I be able to give a straight forward answer what this kind of music is?
To answer this, urban music or urban contemporary is a music radio format and this is according to Wikipedia.
Perhaps explaining the reason why we cannot separate urban music from their attendant DJs is delved in its genesis since the term was coined by the late New York DJ by the name of Frankie Crocker in the mid 1970s.
Urban music comprise a playlist that is made up entirely of hip hop/rap, contemporary R&B, pop, electronica and Caribbean music such as reggae, reggeaton and sometimes soca.
In Malawi, urban music is said to have started when a group called Real Elements consisting of Louis ‘Marvel’ Chikuni, Kimba ‘Plan B’ Anderson-Mutaba, Jerome ‘Stix’ Kalinani, and Quabaniso ‘Q’ Malewezi hit the industry with their brand of music.
Real Elements bombarded the Malawi airwaves with urban American sound with Chichewa lyrics which featured on channel O and performed in Malawi and opened in the UK for hip hop artists like Blak Twang.
This is believed to have inspired a new genre of Malawian music in the form of the urban hip-hop and rap music styles that was uniquely Malawian and since then it has grown big to produce stars like Tay Grin.
However, even when Tay Grin, Theo Thomson, Young Kay , The Basement, Biriwiri, Barry-One, Dominant 1, Dare Devils, Mafunyeta, 3rD Eye, Shawishe, Tigris, Maskal, Young Luv, Dan Lufani, Lomwe, Ceezy, Atumwi and JBro dominated the airwaves, still it was not possible to hit the market which was still dominated by artists like Joseph Phungu Nkasa, Thomas Che Nkhumba Chibade and Lawrence Mbenjere etc.
While it can be said that it is only Tay Grin who has enjoyed substantive international limelight most artists have failed to beat both the local and international market and this is the reason Shawishe, Mr. C and Cliffitonium are trying to re-do the Malawi urban ‘musicape’.
In the project Vinnie Paz will be doing what in Urban music lingo is called sharing bars with Shawishe, while Malawi’s Young Kay will feature on an authentic track produced in Malawi by Shawishe’s younger brother Devine Sen$e..
There is also going to be official remixes of international acts with Malawian top artists adding the Malawian touch. These remixes are state of the art classics portraying the art of real turntablesim and DJ Technique.
This is where the project will feature 50Cent and Vybz Kartel in the mix with Jinx, Trey Songz together with Maskal & Young Kay, Gyptian and Nyasa Gurus…Shakira with Lil Wayne, Jinx, 3rd Eye & Dominant1… And also Chris Brown with Dare Devilz, Cyclone and the new kid rap sensation, Smitty Bun Simpson; Shawishe is calling them ‘rare species’ remixes because it is Malawi’s first.
The driving force will be the able hands of Shawishe as DJ for the success of the project to roll out end of this October, but perhaps the question that still lingers is how is it going to assist the urban music industry? Is it time for Malawi’s urban music to stand up?
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Having Both Players of Instruments & DJs


The urban music genre seems to have come with a force that has sent people casting a dark curtain over players of instruments in music industry.
Young Kay and Tay Grin will hold a show at Warehouse starting from 2PM for example; a crowd pregnant with expectation will cram the venue by 10AM. At 12 Noon, a vehicle brings to the venue huge speakers and some person with a mixer that has a turntable device, everyone recognises this person as a DJ.
But as time is hitting 1PM, this equipment is all what is there and those emerging from the age long live music shows want to get back their money because there is no sign that there will be a live performance at all.
There are no instruments like bass, lead and rhythm guitars, likewise no drum set nor is percussion set not to mention keyboard, piano or synthesiser, leading them to believe there is no live music performance after all.
But while they are arguing with organisers to get back their money Young Kay and Tay Grin appears on the venue and other section of the crowd, knowingly, start cheering them up and this makes these persons wait and see.
Yes the live performance is on and the DJ goes to work as he inserts a compact disk with Young Kay music; Young Kay grabs the mic and starts performing, strangely the crowd sees no problems as it is sent spell bound.
There are no bass-guitar-playing-antics as showcased by Peter Amidu of the Black Missionaries reggae outfit. There will never be Chizondi on the keys and this is what casts a forlorn hope to them, as to what becomes of the players of instruments more so when fans are equally appreciative when it is a CD that is playing and not even the players of instruments themselves.
Urban music is not to blame, neither are the players of instruments. This is part of a growing world. In the beginning even a radio used to be something so huge for a work so simple, now with what is known as an IC or integrated circuit, one is left with a radio so simple with works so complicated and huge.
The live urban music performance where the rapper and the DJ mesmerises the audience needs to be appreciated as such because it is another line of musical performance albeit the appreciation need not go side by side with denudation of the artistry coat that is playing of instrument.
In fact it was started by radio DJs who wanted to enliven not only what they do inside the studio but also bringing the owners of music played on radios in the presence of all, for all to see and appreciate.
If you appreciate music, you will understand what sitting down and listening to a group of people playing jazz does. Sometimes you can be transfixed, watching jazz palpably oozing out from different instruments, hours on end without a single vocal complementary.
If it were a Compact Disc playing, the emotive fortitude that such instruments emit cannot be there. Those of you who have ever attended shows by Black Missionaries will agree with me how, long before the microphones will give room for vocalists, players of instruments, the Chokani Brothers, Mr. Amidu and Chizondi will dub the dance floor with reggae instrumentation that is so captivating.
Instrumentation that makes you stops a moment and attentively watches, fearing that any slight shaking of the body will dissuade you and miss the artistry exhibition.
Likewise, urban music that uses DJs is made merrier when the hands on the turntables are aware of what is supposed to be done. If the hands are mediocre the output is total mediocrity.
Meaning; when one chooses to attend an urban music live show they should be attuned to the fact that they will watch a DJ and a Rapper or a vocalist showcasing talent and they should not wish them away and replace them with a band.
What is needed as I always say is to introduce musical lessons in our technical colleges as I always say, where we can train DJs alongside players of instruments because they are both beautiful and necessary for our music.
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