Rasta is no Musician

It is fascinating how reggae became a musical genre that no one will ever divorce from the Rastafarian way of life.

On Monday May 14, 2012 the Kamuzu Day, I decided to go to Afro Motel where there was supposed to be a musical showcase that included the big names of the local music industry; The Black Missionaries and Skeffa Chimoto and the Real Sounds.

Unfortunately, there was no Skeffa and I am not sure if it was by design or coincidence.

Lately, names are being used to woo people to musical shows and much as I am not suggesting that the inclusion of Skeffa was a ploy to woo more patrons, the mere absence of a proper explanation as to why Skeffa was nowhere to be seen, leaves me with no any other better explanation.

Not that the list of other performers is something that is middle-of-the-road, considering how one would receive the news that the person he had paid their hard earned money to see will not be performing.

Anthony ‘Mr Cool’ Makondetsa who, I learnt on the day that because of his behaviour off the stage he is revered as ‘a doro’ strangely because of his innate humility, generosity and good heart is no musician of small size.

I have watched Yanjanani Chumbu performing so I was not a stranger to his well coordinated performance. I have the opportunity to sample performances from Khonzie Masimbe and Toza Matafale.

Masimbe is good and has only ‘he’ to blame if he will not make it big, but for Toza Matafale, apart from mimicking his half brother Evison Matafale with perfection, I wish we had experts in Malawi who should have worked on his body language.

Toza is a performer who fails to carry himself and gives you an awkward posture that make you realise it was better to only listen to his covers for his elder brother other than watching him.

I have no ‘beef’ with any of the above musicians that performed. I was surprised to find that The Blacks’ two key members, lead guitarist Takudziwani and his drummer brother Paul Chokani were not there.

Instead Amos Mlolowa was the drummer with his experience on the set for Impact Sound did ‘run things’ while the lead guitarist services came from Owen Hulera who is good at it as he has been plying it with Uhuru Band and Zigzaggers before.

In between came some guy who thinks is a musician because he is a Rasta and rightly so, he calls himself Ras P.D who I understand was being backed by an equally mediocre band called Black Syndicate.

There has been a tendency in most musical shows to have people with ‘Rasta Livity’ to try to perform because at the back of their mind they think since reggae is somehow the ‘Rasta thing’ then they have a right to play music.

On the day the performance by Ras P.D and his backing band robbed the building up of enthusiasm that had been generated by the other performers as patrons were waiting Anthony Makondetsa and The Blacks.

The vocal output by Ras P.D was a sham, and he was not even sure what he wanted to sing next, leading to loss of air in mid performance and almost choking himself to shame as a result.

All what the band was producing was uncoordinated noise that only showed their attempt to make it sound like music. It was even worse when they tried to do covers of songs from Jamaican reggae musicians like Burning Spear.

It was a total shame. It was like son of Roman Abromovich owner of Chelsea Football Club in London forcing his way into the team as a striker or midfielder merely because the team is owned by his father.

Unfortunately, life is not like this and this is why even when the Afro Motel Show was organised by Rasta Elder who is also Chief Somanje Makata of Ndirande he never played music on stage.

One of the highly respected Rasta Elder Mortimer Planno was only good at playing drums for Nyayabighi chant whose purpose is to facilitate grounations as Rasta worship.

This is by the way, the man who was Bob Marley’s Rasta teacher as he was also one of Rasta Livity’s ideological founders. He knew that reggae was something that is the heart of Rastafarie but never at any point would you see him grabbing the microphone from Bunny Wailer and started performing instead.

The art to play music is not meant for every Jack and Jill because it is, besides being a natural endowment, perfected by a dedicated practice.

What these people wearing natty dreads do at musical shows is a shame because by merely shouting that ‘Jah Rasatafarie’ as done by Tappa Zukie, Dr. Alimantado, Berres Hammond, Joseph ‘Culture’ Hills or any other reggae artists when performing, does not make them musicians.

Instead of wasting time, frustrating and shaming patrons due to their attempt to learn how to sing or play musical instruments, they need to approach those that have mastered this to train them.

Don’t learn in front of patrons who have parted with their hard earned money to be entertained.



Evance Meleka: an impressionist Shame

Evance Meleka did not emerge on the local music scene as a solo artist; like twins, he materialized alongside Zebron Kankhunda.
It will be unfair if I suggest that the two managed to get their fame through a track they released as a tribute to late Evison Matafale who had already cut himself a figure of a local reggae king with his two Kuyimba albums.
“Ife tizanka konko, awo anzanka konko nanga timadanilananji…Ulendo wa ku Lilongweeee Wokabwera Mtembo… Matafale unayenda bwa? …”
These are some of the lines in the track, which signified a journey that would take them to stardom, where along the way; Evance Meleka would free himself from his double act with Kankhunda to collaborate with several artists.
I suspect that when Evance collaborated with controversial gospel artist George Mkandawire to release tracks ‘Mwalawo’ and ‘Manga Patanthwe’ he realized how sweet it sounds to do tracks that are gospel.
A short while since this attempt, he declared himself a ‘Gospel Artist’ and I have no reservations with his decision because the effort he showed in the tracks cuts him above the average acts that are polluting the gospel music arena.
He has talked more about how he thinks this is his calling to serve the people with word of salvation other than encouraging them to keep on sinning through secular music.
My problem with Evance comes where he has decided to become an Oliver Mtukudzi copycat which has instead turned him into an impressionist shame.
If I ask the people reading this who have listened to Evance to tell me whether or not he is one of the few gifted guys with golden voice, none will raise up their hands to disagree with me.
Meaning, Evance’s voice is unexploited gold which only he can take care of and nurture as time goes by.
Meleka has ‘debuted’ his gospel music career with tracks where he has imitated Oliver Mtukudzi unashamedly.
Those of you who have never heard of Oliver, which I doubt very much, would benefit from his biography. He began performing in 1977 when he joined the Wagon Wheels, according to Wikipedia, a band that also featured Thomas Mapfumo.
It says their single, “Dzandimomotera”, went gold and Tuku’s first album followed, which was also a major success. Mtukudzi is also a contributor to Mahube, Southern Africa’s “super group”.
His husky voice has become the most recognized voice to emerge from Zimbabwe and onto the international scene and he has earned a devoted following across Africa and beyond.
Oliver is also member of Zimbabwe’s KoreKore tribe, Nzou Samanyanga as his totem, he sings in the nation’s dominant Shona language along with Ndebele and English.
Wikipedia also says Oliver incorporates elements of different musical traditions, giving his music a distinctive style, known to fans as “Tuku Music”.
“Mtukudzi has had a number of tours around the world. He has been on several tours in the UK, US and Canada to perform for large audiences.
Unlike Mapfumo, Mtukudzi has refrained from directly criticizing the repressive government of President Robert Mugabe, perhaps because he still lives in the country.
However, some of his most emotive hits prodded the aging authoritarian ruler, including “Ndakuvara,” which bemoans the political violence engineered by Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party and “Wasakara (You Are Getting Old),” which most Zimbabweans took as a direct plea for Mugabe to retire.
He is the father of five children and has two grandchildren.Two of his children are also musicians. His son Sam Mtukudzi, a successful musician in his own right, died in a car accident in March 2010. Mtukudzi also has four sisters and one brother, who died. He enjoys swimming in his guitar-shaped swimming pool, has released 49 albums and cannot remember the number of awards he has won.”
If you read on Wikipedia such a beautiful biography of Oliver Mtukudzi you will agree with me that any serious musician who has a career ahead of him would not do such a foolish act.
There are several international publications that tell stories abut this great son of Africa. He question would then be, is Evance Meleka indeed serious he wants to copy this guy and make it big?
Already everyone who has shown love for Evance Meleka music is now very angry that such a talent has now decided to reduce himself to a sideshow.
It is surprising that he has taken this road when he broke the ground as Evance Meleka. As I am writing about this right now, I am wondering as to what Evance was thinking when he decided to abandon his music style and started copying Mtukudzi.
If this is what he has decided, are we going to have a biography that one would get to at the click of a button?
Will the name ‘Evance Meleka’ be respected even in posterity if he has decided to bury all that talent with this impressionist shame?
Musicians should not only help each other financially, you need to guide one another on career direction, surely Evance Meleka has veered off the road and somebody needs to get him back on the track if he has to achieve anything…

Pitting Bob Marley against Joseph Hills

On Sunday this very week, after a church service, I decided to mix with total strangers at one of the joints in the City of Blantyre.

Just going out like this is sometimes the best of mental therapies, not the kind that Gramps Morgan and India Arie sang about in the ‘Two Side to My Story’ album, of course.

I ended up becoming more contented with this Sunday sojourn because of what I discovered about how the most common of people closely follow reggae music.

In fact it started with football. At this particular joint there are larger than life posters of football teams, not of Big Bullets, Silver Strikers or Mighty Wanders, but of English Premiership Teams.

There is a new team in town, a certain team’s ‘Noisy neighbours’ which is never present on the walls of most entertainment joints that have such posters in exhibition.

There were almost five men of mixed ages who were discussing about who the best players in each of these teams are.

Let me not digress, but the thing is one of such posters had Jamaican reggae artists with Lucky Dube amongst them.

The group then picked on Joseph Hills, where one of the men in this group said he was the King amongst all the artists on that poster that included Bob Marley.

This prompted a protest from a man who was not commenting anything on all the soccer debate that was going on.

“Come on guys, you cannot compare Joseph ‘Culture’ Hills with Bob Marley,” the man challenged.

And in a chorus like protest the five men heckled the speaker even before he had finished registering his protest.

“I have never been to school, I don’t understand what these guys sing about, but I can bet that the quality of voice and even instruments from ‘Culture’ is out of this world,” protested one of the five.

Then the pool guy stopped playing the game to drive his point home.

“Do you know when Bob Marley started singing? And can that period compare with one when Culture started?”

He then asked the five how come Marley’s compilation album, ‘Legend’, released in 1984, three years after his death, is reggae’s best-selling album, being 10 times platinum in the US, and selling over 20 million copies worldwide.

But the other group could hear none of that as one argued still:

“You know what, I have watched Bob Marley performing live and I have several collections of Joseph Hills performing, so you cannot say Bob Marley is atop; no way!”

Then he turned to his friends, ‘Eti bwanji live ya Culture ya ku Joni?” (How about Culture’s South African live performance?)

The other one answered: “Eeeeh! Amwene palibenso, inu munayamba mwawona munthu akupeka Nyimbo pompo-pompo?” (Eeeeh, bro, none can beat this guy, have you ever seen an artist composing a song right in the middle of a live performance?)

Then the whole group of five in unison started singing: “Ganja time, ganja time, ganja time X4”

This is the track the five claimed was composed by Joseph ‘Culture’ Hills right on stage in South Africa. They described it as a kind of reggae that was slanted to suit an African ear, something Bob Marley could not do.

They claim that even when he came to Zimbabwe, all Bob Marley did was singing ‘Zimbabweee’ but not that impressive.

This started getting me really interested because the pool guy was now joined by another one. All this time was busy reading a newspaper.

“You guys [meaning the five] do not know what you are talking about at all. We are not saying Culture is bad, but you cannot compare the two; Bob Marley is still King of Reggae. If your Culture was that good, why didn’t they take that crown to him?”

One of the ‘Culture members’ easily answered: “Because whoever chooses the King is biased. Tell them to come to us so that we can vote.”

The newspaper man then said, “do you know that for reggae to be what it is it was the ingenuity of Bob Marley that sold it internationally; in fact the perfection of the genre was done by Bob Marley and Chris Blackwell without which your ‘Culture’ would have no foundation to lay his career which has now captivated you.”

“Those of us, who truly love reggae, respect the roots. That’s why we even have the roots rock radics genre which is still maintained despite the coming in of dancehall and ragga,” the newspaper man argued.

But the five were adamant, one finally said: “Izi zili ngati chipembezo sitingamvane. Chabwino ife ndi a Joseph Hills ndipo inu ndi a Bob Marley.” (This is like religion; I think there is no common ground; what I can declare therefore is that we are for Joseph Hills and you are for Bob Marley.)   









World Press Freedom Day

Capital Hotel, Saturday 5th May, 2012


1.0            Introduction

In March this year, MISA Malawi Chapter invited Journalists to submit their published work for the 2012 MISA Malawi Annual Media Awards. These Awards are given out on May 3 every year as part of the celebrations to mark World Press Freedom Day (WPFD).

The 2012 awards include 9 MISA Categories, 8 Categories supported by the United Nations in Malawi and 6 new categories. The awards also include recognition of the best Political Cartoon of the Year supported by the German Embassy. The new categories include:

US Embassy/MISA Categories:

  1. Best Columnist of the Year Award
  2. Best Radio Talk Show Host of the Year Award
  3. Best Blogger of the Year Award

These awards have been introduced to promote on-line journalism and critical analyses of issues which is mostly done by experienced columnists and talk show hosts. Apart from these 3, MISA Malawi has also introduced the: Best Farm Radio Programme of the Year Award, with support from Farm Radio International Malawi and Best Human Resources for Health Award, with funding from Nurses and Midwives Organisation of Malawi.

The farm radio Award aims to recognise the role that Agricultural Broadcasters play in improving the lives of smallholder farmers; and to motivate agricultural broadcasters and profile of farm radio programming as a key in agricultural extension and advisory services.

The Best Human Resources for Health Award realises the need for retention of qualified and experienced health professionals in the country and rewards outstanding journalists who aim to improve knowledge and analysis of current trends and issues in human resources for health among other key priority areas.

UN/MISA Categories: 

  1. Hunger & Poverty: Print and electronic
  2. Universal Primary Education: Print & Electronic
  3. Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Print & Electronic
  4. Child Mortality: Print and Electronic
  5. Maternal Health: Print & Electronic
  6. HIV/AIDS, Malaria & Tuberculosis: Print and Electronic
  7. Environmental Sustainability: Print & Electronic
  8. Global Partnership for Development: Print & Electronic

These awards focus on the MDG targets and the main objective is to motivate journalists to critically analyse progress and challenges in our efforts to achieve the MDGs. The MISA/UN awards will be offered annually up to 2015 alongside MISA Malawi’s traditional Awards. MISA’s traditional Media Awards are as follows:

  1. Investigative Journalist of the Year Award: Print and Electronic
  2. Business & Economics Journalist of the Year: Print and Electronic
  3. Human Rights Journalist of the Year: Print & Electronic
  4. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Journalist of the Year: Print 7 Electronic
  5. Sports Journalist of the Year
  6. Chichewa Journalist of the Year
  7. Overall Winner Award
  8. Life Time Achiever Award
  9. Media House of the Year Award: Print and Electronic

Judges for these Awards look for a number of factors which constitute the variables for assessing each entry or submission. These include:

  1. Impact,
  2. Analysis and
  3. investigation,
  4. Courage
  5. Originality,
  6. Gender awareness and
  7. consistency

The 2012 Committee of judges comprised:

  1. Mr. Baldwin Chiyamwaka, VSO and former Executive Director of the Media Council of Malawi;
  2. Mr. Owen Kadewere, Lecturer, Malawi Institute of Journalism; and Assistant Information Specialist, TEVETA
  3. Mr. Ellard Manjawira, Department of Journalism and Media Studies, The Polytechnic;
  4. Mike Chipalasa, Award Winning Journalist and Communications Officer, Malawi Human Rights Commission
  5. Mandala Mambulasa, Human Rights Lawyer, and Board member, MISA Malawi
  6. Miss. Kusali Kubwalo, UNICEF
  7. Miss Shorai Nyambalo, UN and;
  8. Mr. Aubrey Chikungwa National Director of MISA Malawi who served as Secretary to the committee.


2.0            AWARDS


  1. 1.     Human Rights Journalist of the Year (Print)


Some people are found guilty by committing various crimes in society while others are guilty by birth. Have we ever thought of mothers who commit crime and put into detention while they are breastfeeding? Have we ever thought of pregnant mothers who are thrown into jail and they end up giving birth while in prison? This is a story of Mumderanji Seba who was thrown into jail while she was pregnant and she gave birth while in custody at Zomba Central Prison. Mumderanji is from Nawunje Village, T/A Chikowi in Zomba district.

Prize: LCD plasma screen, a branded wall clock and one roll of cloth courtesy of Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitaiton and Centre for Development of People  

Presenter: Mr. Undule Mwakasungula, Executive Director, CHRR

Winning article: Guilty by birth: Babies in prison

Winner: Charles Mpaka, Blantyre Newspapers Ltd

  1. 2.     Human Rights Journalist of the Year (Electronic)


The July 20/21 demonstrations exposed a lot of challenges the country is facing. Among them: fuel and forex shortage, escalating prices of goods and services, etc. There is untold suffering as a result of lack of donor support to Malawi. The list of problems is endless. This reporter has taken us through all the events that led to the July 20/21 demonstrations and the effects they have had on Malawians.

Prize: LCD plasma screen, a branded wall clock and one roll of cloth courtesy of Centre of Human Rights and Rehabilitation and the Centre for Development of People.

Presenter: Mr. Gift Trapence, CEDEP

Winning article: July 20 and the path to democracy in Malawi

Winner: Winstone Mwale, Zodiak Broadcasting Station

  1. 3.     Business and economics Journalist of the Year (Print)


Most working class Malawians are these days relying on business to sustain their families. They are involved in all sorts of business ventures ranging from selling merchandise such as cars; clothes to kitchen utensils and blankets. These business people travel long distances to as far a country as South Africa. They face a lot of challenges in order to make ends meet such as corruption.

This story won because it provoked reaction from the Malawi Revenue Authority

Prize: Top of the range plasma screen courtesy of Airtel Malawi

Presenter: Enwell Kadango from Airtel

Winner: Mwereti Kanjo, Nation Publications Limited

Winning article: Life across the border

  1. 4.     Business and Economics Journalist of the Year (Electronic)


Malawi’s economy was at one time described as the fastest growing in the world. According to the late president Professor Bingu Wa Mutharika, Malawi’s pace in terms of economic growth was second to Qatar. But this has proved not to be true on the ground. There are millions of Malawians that are caught in the web of proverty.

This story has won because of its deep analysis of the economy and inclusion of local voices

Pize: Top of the range LCD plasma screen courtesy of Airtel Malawi

Presenter: Enwell Kadango from Airtel

Winning article: Collapsed economy biting Malawians hard  

Winner: Pilirani Phiri, Zodiak Broadcasting Station

  1. 5.     Chichewa Journalist of the Year


There is a saying which goes ‘when bad things happen to good people. There are some things which are so difficult to be explained. This story talks about Gogo Jane Kadzakumanja, who at the age of 69, is looking after three physically challenged children. The three children were born without any disabilities but things changed when they were grownups. At the age of 50, Rose became blind; Rodgers is blind at the age of 41 while Ruth is seriously ill at the age of 39. All these children are now back with their grandmother.

Prize: State of the art digital camera courtesy of the gift of the Givers

Presenter: A representative from Gift of the Givers

Winner: Noel Nkubwi, Zodiak Broadcasting Station

Winning article: Ikakuona Litsiro sikata

  1. 6.     Sports Journalist of the Year


Sports disciplines in the country have their own controversies. This story talks about match fixing scandals involving top teams in the country. One such match fixing scandal involved a game between Silver Strikers football club and Escom United at the Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.

Prize: State of the art Home theatre courtesy of Multi Choice Malawi.

Presenter: Multi Choice Malawi representative

Winner: Joy Ndovi, Blantyre Newspapers Limited

Winning article: Match fixing plot exposed

  1. 7.     Photojournalist of the Year


The winning picture is about the July 20/21 demonstrations. The photo-journalist was brave enough to have gone out and taken pictures even though the situation was tense and members of the public, including journalists were being physically harassed by some trigger happy police officers.


Prize: A state of the art digital camera courtesy of Gift of the Givers

Presenter: A representative from Gift of the Givers  

Winner: Jacob Nankhonya

Winning article: Malawi up in smoke

  1. 8.     Investigative Journalist of the Year (Print Category)


Power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely. This saying applies to government officials who abuse their power and indulge themselves in corrupt activities. This story talks about government officials who were involved in a housing scam at the Malawi Housing Corporation. MHC ended up losing K105 million kwacha in the process.

Prize: Top of the range lap top courtesy of Gift of the Givers

Prize presenter: A representative from Gift of the Givers  

Winning article: MHC K105 million kwacha house scam: Buyers receive hefty discounts.  

Winner: Theresa Chapulapula, Blantyre Newspapers Limited

  1. 9.     Investigative Journalist of the Year (Electronic Category)

There are many things in Malawi which are regarded as taboo. Some things are never talked about at all and yet they are causing untold misery to a lot of Malawians. This is a story of abortion in Malawi which is far from being legalised. Many women and girls ask for abortion services in private hospitals at a fee. Government on the other hand is looking the other way, pretending as if all is well.

Prize: Top of the range laptop courtesy of Gift of the Givers

Presenter: A representative from Gift of the Givers

Winning article: Secret liberty to abortions in Malawi

Winner: Teresa Temweka Ndanga  

  1. 10.  Water and Sanitation (Print Category)


Pollution has now become the talk of the day. Most rivers in the country are heavily polluted to the extent that they pose a health risk. One such river is Mudi in the City of Blantyre. The river has now been turned into a dumping site of all sorts of things. It took the intervention of the Rotary Club to rescue the situation by repairing damaged equipment and removing all the garbage from the river. This is a success story indeed!

Prize: An LCD Plasma High Definition Screen from WaterAid Malawi

Presenter: A representative from WaterAid

Winning article: To the rescue of murky Mudi river

Winner: Binson Musongole

  1. 11.  Water and Sanitation (Electronic)


Hate them, but you will never stop to love them. This is a story of market vendors who sell us all sorts of merchandise. These vendors, however, face a lot of challenges. This is a story of vendors in Blantyre who were scrambling for a single toilet. Imagine that! Due to the power of the media, this situation was publicised and the authorities came to the rescue of the vendors.


Prize: An LCD Plasma High Definition Screen from WaterAid Malawi

Presenter: A representative from WaterAid

Winning article: Vendors scramble for a poorly conditioned toilet

Winner: Jonah Pankuku, Malawi Institute of Journalism




  1. 12.  Hunger and Poverty (Print)


Orphans find it very tough in life. This is a story of Samuel Dafta who has been sleeping in trees and sometimes sleeping on an empty stomach. There are many children in Malawi who are living like Samuel and they need our help.

Prize:  State of the art Samsung tablet from the UN   

Presenter: Mr. Baton Osman from World Food Programme

Winning article: Miserable life of a 12 year old

Winner: Charles Mpaka, Blantyre Newspapers Limited 

  1. 13.  Hunger and Poverty (Electronic)


As Malawi is still struggling to find an alternative to tobacco as a cash crop, there seems to be an answer in the name of sugarcane farming. This story however, exposes the exploitation in the sugarcane farming. This is a story of Mr. Wiseman Banda of Dwanga.

Prize:  State of the art Samsung tablet from the UN   

Presenter: Mr. Baton Osman from World Food Programme

Winning article: Sugarcane as a cash crop

Winner: Stonald Kuphunda, Zodiak Broadcasting Station

  1. 14.  Environmental Sustainability (Print)


Have you ever thought that plastic bags can be used as toilets? This is a story of Ndirande where people have resorted to defecating in plastic bags and dumping them wherever they want. This is a health hazard.

Prize:  State of the art Samsung tablet from the UN   

Presenter: Ms Naomi Kitahara of UNDP 

Winning article: Flying toilets in Ndirande  

Winner: Tiwonge Ng’ona, Correspondent/Blantyre Newspapers Limited

  1. 15.  Environmental Sustainability (Electronic)


Climate change has affected almost everybody. The rain pattern has now become very unpredictable. This is a story of Mzuzu city where the rain pattern used to be predictable. Things have now changed and everything in Mzuzu has become upside down.

Prize:  State of the art Samsung tablet from the UN   

Presenter: Ms Naomi Kitahara of UNDP 

Winning article: How climate change has changed Mzuzu City

Winner: Steve Zimba, Zodiak Broadcasting Station

  1. 16.  Universal Primary Education Journalist of the Year (Print)


Most people never give up in life. This has been proved to be true with the introduction of the free primary education. A 52 year old man by the name of Kapito Right from Chiradzulu district went back to school to start in standard 5. He is not ashamed to share a desk with pupils as young as 8 years old at Lisawu Primary School in the same district.

Prize: Top of the range Samsung Tablet from the UN.   

Presenter: Mr. Clement Dzinyemba of FAO

Winning article: Never too late to salvage dream

Winner: Emmanuel Muwamba, Nation Publications Limited

  1. 17.  Universal Primary Education Journalist of the Year (Electronic)


Universal primary education still remains a farfetched dream come 2015, considering that pupils are travelling long distances to access education. One example is the community of Chambidzi in Dowa. Pupils at this school just like other schools across the country travel long distances to access education. The children face all sorts of challenges ranging from physical attacks, rape and hunger.

Prize:   Top of the range Samsung Tablet from the UN.   

Presenter: Mr. Clement Dzinyemba of FAO

Winning article: Government puts community’s efforts to have own primary school in limbo

Winner: Teresa Temweka Ndanga, Zodiak Broadcasting Station  


  1. 18.  Global Partnerships for Development (Print)


There is a tendency by government to start projects and then leave them when they are just halfway through. This is a story of Nguluwe health centre in Lilongwe which was completely abandoned and has now become a target for vandals.

Prize:   Top of the range Samsung Tablet from the UN.   

Presenter: Ms. Nguyenthi Ngoc Van of UNRCO

Winning article: Health Centre abandoned for 20 years

Winner: Gabriel Kamlomo, Blantyre Newspapers Limited   

  1. 19.  Global Partnerships for Development (Electronic)


Malawi’s image to the outside world has of late been dented. This is as a result of what commentators termed as the arrogance of the authorities in the previous regime where donors were sent packing. This came with it some catastrophic results. The economy collapsed, hence the untold misery of many Malawians.

Prize:   Top of the range Samsung Tablet from the UN.   

Presenter: Ms. Nguyenthi Ngoc Van of UNRCO

Winning article: Malawians paying for Bingu’s arrogance

Winner: Pilirani Phiri, Zodiak Broadcasting Station  


  1. 20.  Child Mortality (Print)


The entries for this category did not satisfy the criteria of the awards because they were of poor quality. The judges, therefore, unanimously agreed to nullify them. This means that we don’t have any winner for this category.

  1. 21.  Child Mortality (Electronic)


Children are dying every day in Malawi. While some deaths occur due to natural causes, others occur due to preventable causes such as Malaria, diarrhoea and other diseases. This story highlights the causes of child mortality and how it can be prevented.


Prize:   Top of the range Samsung Tablet from the UN.   

Presenter: Mr. Victor Chinyama of UNICEF

Winning article: Community participation reduces child mortality

Winner: Enock Balakasi, Joy Radio   


  1. 22.  Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (Print)


Culture continues to push girls into early marriages. This is a story of Ndiwuzayani Willie of Chikhwawa district who was forced to get married because culture would not allow her to continue staying with her parents.

Prize:   Top of the range Samsung Tablet from the UN.   

Presenter: Mr. Athanash Nzokirisaka of UNFPA 

Winning article: Culture pushing girls into early marriages 

Winner: Tiwonge Ng’ona, Correspondent/Blantyre Newspapers Limited

  1. 23.  Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (Electronic)


Women empowerment is slowly becoming a success story across the country. This is a story of Mwayiwathu Maize mill group which has become successful due to their hard work in small scale business. They are running a maize mill business.


Prize:   Top of the range Samsung Tablet from the UN.   

Presenter: Mr. Athanash Nzokirisaka of UNFPA 

Winning article: How ESCOM inefficiency is affecting the livelihood of women   

Winner: Doreen Sonani, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation  

  1. 24.  Maternal Health (Print)


Pregnant mothers are finding it very difficult when giving birth at some health centres in the country. This is a story of pregnant mothers in Ndirande who are asked to bring candles when they are going to deliver at Ndirande Health centre.

Prize:   Top of the range Samsung Tablet from the UN.   

Presenter: Mr. Hudson Kubwalo of World Health Organisation  

Winning article: When giving birth becomes a nightmare

Winner:  Wezzie Nkhoma-Somba, Blantyre Newspapers Limited





  1. 25.  Maternal Health (Electronic)


This story analyses the viability of legalising abortion in Malawi, a situation which could save a lot of lives. Abortion has resulted into loss of lives, including loss of marriages. The reporter argues that if abortion was legalised in Malawi, the vulnerable groups in society could be saved.


Prize:   Top of the range Samsung Tablet from the UN.   

Presenter: Mr. Hudson Kubwalo of World Health Organisation  

Winning article: The viability of legalising abortion 

Winner:  Brenda Kawonga, Malawi Institute of Journalism  


  1. 26.  HIV & AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis: (Print)


People living with HIV/AIDS need special care and attention. Unfortunately, these people are not given the necessary attention they deserve and they end up dying due to lack of care and support. This is a story of Zomba Central Hospital where people living with HIV/AIDS are left unattended to. These people have turned morgues into shelters, while others are sleeping under trees.


Prize:   Top of the range Samsung Tablet from the UN.   

Presenter: Mr. Patrick Brenny of UNAIDS   

Winning article: Turning morgues into hospitals    

Winner:  Isaac Masingati, Blantyre Newspapers Limited    

  1. 27.  HIV & AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis: (Electronic)


Children are a source of pride to parents. The same children, however, are a source of sex to some heartless men. This is a story of a man who ruthlessly defiled seven children, one after another. This man is, unfortunately living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.


Prize:   Top of the range Samsung Tablet from the UN.   

Presenter: Mr. Patrick Brenny of UNAIDS   

Winning article: HIV positive man defiles seven children in a roll   

Winner:  Winstone Mwale, Zodiak Broadcasting Station   

  1. 28.  Best Farm Radio Programme

The broadcaster talks about how farmers have benefited from the dairy cattle farming, an initiative introduced in 2006 by World Vision Malawi. World Vision gave 80 cattle to farmers so that the farmers could pass on to other farmers when the cattle reproduce. This programme won because it gives more time to the farmers to speak and it is also gender sensitive.

Prize:   Top of the range LCD plasma screen from Farm Radio Malawi   

Presenter: Dr. Stanley Khaila, Farm Radio Malawi Board Chairperson.   

Winning article: Ng’ombe za mkaka mthetsa njala   

Winner:  Lazarous Mgomezulu, Radio Alinafe

  1. 29.  Best Human Resource for Health (Print)

Most health centres in the country lack adequate health personnel. This is a story of Chipho Health centre situated between Thyolo and the neighbouring Mozambique. There is only one nurse at this health centre and yet it serves a lot of communities. The situation at Chipho reflects the shortage of health personnel in most health centres in the country.

Prize:   Top of the range Home Theatre courtesy of the Nurses Organisation of Malawi   

Presenter: Mrs. Dorothy Ngoma, Executive Director, Nurses and Midwives Organisation of Malawi      

Winning article: Hospitals without nurses    

Winner:  Isaac Masingati and Charles Mpaka, Blantyre Newspapers Limited   

  1. 30.  Best Human Resource for Health (Electronic)

Health service provision still remains a big challenge in the country’s health centres. Health service delivery is being compromised due to the ever increasing number of people seeking services from health centres. This situation is piling a lot of pressure on the health personnel. This story highlights the challenges that have arisen as a result of population growth. The reporter gives the example of Chiwera Village in Kasungu district with a population of over 20, 000 but the village does not have adequate health centres.

Prize:   Top of the range Home Theatre courtesy of the Nurses and Midwives Organisation of Malawi   

Presenter: A representative from the Nurses Organisation of Malawi    

Winning article: Lack of access to health services     

Winner:  Priscilla Zikapanda-Malamula, Zodiak Broadcasting Station    

US Embassy/MISA Awards

These awards were based on votes by MISA Malawi members. The members were requested to nominate and vote for their best Columnist of the Year; Blogger of the Year and Radio Talk Show Host of the Year. The winners are:

  1. 31.  Blogger of the Year

Prize: Top of the art Laptop and a recorder courtesy of US Embassy

Presenter: Benjamin Canavan, Acting Deputy Ambassador/Public Affairs Officer for the US Embassy

Winner: Kondwani Munthali, Nation Publications Limited

  1. 32.  Radio Talk Show Host of the Year

Prize: Top of the art laptop and a recorder courtesy of US Embassy

Presenter: Benjamin Canavan, Acting Deputy Ambassador/Public Affairs Officer for the US Embassy

Winner: Pilirani Phiri, Zodiak Broadcasting Station


  1. 33.  Columnist of the Year

Prize: Top of the art laptop and a recorder, courtesy of US Embassy

Presenter: Benjamin Canavan, Acting Deputy Ambassador/Public Affairs Officer for the US Embassy

Winner: Ralph Tenthani

  1. 34.  Overall Winner

The story uncovered a multimillion kwacha racket in which the country’s Housing Body was busy selling houses at a reduced rate to selected individuals. The story came at a time when most Malawians were and still are struggling to get decent houses in Malawi’s urban sectors. The story moved the authorities and led to the firing of the body’s top brass and reactions from key individuals exposed in the story.

The story also led to initiation of investigations by the country’s Ant-Corruption Bureau.

Apart from the above, this story had the following:

  • It scored the highest on impact, courage, investigation and consistency
  • The story showed courage and determination at a time when critical journalism was regarded as a death ticket
  • It is a high profile story that affects the whole cross section of Malawi’s urban society


Prize: Top of the range Home Theatre courtesy of Malawi Savings Bank

Presenter: Representative from Malawi Savings Bank

Winning article:  “MHC MK105 m House Scam,’ and other stories

Winner: Teresa Chapulapula of Blantyre Newspapers Limited

  1. 35.  Media House of the Year (Electronic)

In addition to scoring the highest on the assessment score card for media house of the year(electronic), the media house has also demonstrated the following:-

  1. The media house has reporters and correspondents all over the country to provide an insight and a voice to all Malawians across the country.
  2. The media house has also diversified to increase online broadcasting providing reliable and consistent variety of stories to the listenership in the diaspora.
  3.  In addition to that, the media house believes in staff development and conducts in-house training for its journalists to refresh on aspects of professional journalism.
  4. In the year just ending, the media house also developed the SMS news broadcast in which news is sent to thousands of subscribers so that they are updated on what is happening in Malawi even when they have not listened to the radio or read a newspaper on that particular day.
  1. In the year just ending, the media house also introduced long life batteries so that people in the rural areas should be using their radio sets.
  1. Most importantly, the media house improved the quality of its reception by planting new and better transmitters in some districts such as Nkhata Bay, Mzimba, Karonga and Nkhotakota.

Prize: High Definition Plasma Television set for the modern newsroom courtesy of National BANK of Malawi.

Presenter: A representative from National Bank of Malawi

Winner: Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS)

  1. 36.  Media House of the Year (Print)

In addition to scoring the highest on the assessment score card for media house of the year (print), the media house has also demonstrated the following:-

  1.  Courageously tackled stories focussing on individuals who were very senior and influential when the country was under the DPP led government
  2. The media house believes in staff development and supports its staff to pursue further and post graduate studies
  3. At a time when many newspapers in the west are folding up and to make way for electronic newspapers, the media house has led the way with on line presence
  4. The media house is also delivering full newspaper electronically in the fashion of e-edition to the world at large and making money in the process through a pay-pa pay wall, the first of its kind in Malawi
  5. The media house has also pioneered interaction with its readers via mobile technology. The media house has developed its own mobile platform


Prize: High Definition Plasma Television set for the modern newsroom courtesy of National Bank of Malawi.

Presenter: A representative from National Bank of Malawi

Winner: Blantyre Newspapers Limited (BNL)


  1. 37.  Lifetime Achiever

She has risen above a male dominated sector to become a role model for most people. She holds a senior position in a challenging industry when most of her class would opt for the glamour and glory of Television. She has also proved excellence in journalism which includes upholding of ethics of the profession at all costs and the relentless pursuit of all truths. Her role as a leader and manager has enhanced the cause of media freedom and demonstrated courage, integrity and initiative. She is recognised and respected by her peers and the media industry and contributes to society through excellent journalistic work.



Prize: Top of the art digital Camera courtesy of the British Hi Commission

Presenter: His Excellency Kirk Hollingsworthy

Winner: Mrs Mbumba Banda Achutan – CEO, NPL

  1. 38.  Best Cartoonist of the year

This award was facilitated by the German Embassy and people were asked to vote online. The German Embassy only picked a cartoon which had the most votes.

Presenter: The German Ambassador, His Excellency Dr. Peter Woeste

Winner: Ralph Mawera, Nation Publications Limited


Since 2011, Blantyre Newspapers Limited has been recognising excellence in media training institutions such as the Malawi Polytechnic’s journalism department, the Malawi Institute of Journalism and Chancellor College.

Prize: K50, 000 courtesy of Blantyre Newspapers Limited

Presenter: A representative from Blantyre Newspapers Limited


  1. Chiyembekezo Focus Maganga from the Polytechnic.
  2. Rose Cross from Malawi Institute of Journalism, Mzuzu Campus

Standard Bank brings second phase of Mo Money promotion

…Customers to earn 10% interest above market rates

Lilongwe (Malawi)—Standard Bank Malawi is today pleased to announce the launch of a second phase of its Mo Money promotion. The new phase will run up to May 31.

Announcing the new phase, Standard Bank Head of Marketing Linda Kachingwe-Sisya said it is a continuation of the initial phase of the promotion and aims to give an opportunity to more customers to benefit from the 10 percent interest yield on offer.

The first phase of the promotion ran from March 7 to May 4, 2012.

“We would like to give an equal opportunity to other customers who were not part of the initial phase of the promotion. This promotion is one of the bank’s incentives to customers to help them save for a rainy day and build capital reserves of their own,” she said.

As with the first phase of the promotion, individual and business customers are required to open Fixed Deposit accounts to earn a hefty promotional interest rate of up to10%, which is about three times above the normal interest rate.

“At Standard Bank, we are passionate about creating wealth for our individual and business customers and that is why we are continuing with this promotion,” she said.

Kachingwe-Sisya said the promotion gives the bank’s customers an opportunity to treble their income and save money for forward investments.

The Mo Money promotion allows customers who opt for longer fixed deposit terms to continue enjoying the 10 percent interest offer until expiry of tenure. This is just one way that Standard bank is helping move its customers forward.

BIG BROTHER STARGAME Glitz & Glamour, Twists & Turns – Big Brother StarGame Delivers Shock and Awe in Season Opener


Big Brother is back with a bang! The seventh season of the continent’s biggest reality show – Big Brother StarGame – blasted off on Sunday night (6 May at 20:00 CAT on DStv Channel 198) with more star power, housemates, glamour and cash up for grabs than ever before! The biggest bombshell of all? Two of the housemate pairs are already up for eviction during next Sunday’s live show!


Enthusiastic viewers across the continent tuned in to meet the seven celebrity ’Upville’ housemates and 14 pairs of ‘Downville’ housemates who will compete over 91 days for USD 300 000 in cash – with all the money going to the last housemate standing. Two new countries also join the show this year – Sierra Leone and Liberia, with the entire show refreshed by Coca Cola, of course!


Ever-dashing presenter IK was joined by a dazzling new addition to pump up the glamour of the opening show: co-host Flavia from Channel O and Uganda’s Capital FM. Together, they set the wheels in motion for a packed show which saw two stellar performances from US rapper and Grammy Award nominee J. Cole, who put his star stamp on the show early on with his hit “Work Out”.


As IK gave viewers a sneak peak inside the VIP Upville house, the @BigBroAfrica Twitter account raced well beyond the 100 000 follower mark – before the continent had even met a single housemate! With top South African DJ Miss Cosmo spinning the beats, IK welcomed the seven VIP housemates on stage – comedian DKB (Ghana), musicians and singers Prezzo (Kenya), Lady May (Namibia), Goldie (Nigeria), Mampi (Zambia) & Roki (Zimbabwe) and model Barbz (South Africa). Big personalities, one and all, the VIP housemates promised viewers loads of fun and tons of entertainment as IK introduced each of them to the continent. Once they’d all been introduced to Africa, they made their way into the Upville house and immediately set about exploring every inch of their luxurious new digs.


As they settled in, IK gave viewers a preview of the Downville house, which will be the 14 other housemate pairs’ home for the next 91 days. Stylish and fun, the ‘Downville Diner’ is going to be an awesome playground for the housemates! Then it was time for the big reveal  – and IK introduced the 14 pairs, one by one: fun-loving Esperanza & Seydou (Angola), daring sisters Edith & Eve (Botswana), ‘complicated couple’ Mildred & Keitta (Ghana), dynamic brothers Alex & Malonza (Kenya), hard-partying friends Yadel & Luke (Liberia), players and cousins Nafe & Wati (Malawi), bubbly friends Jesica & Junia (Namibia), joker buddies Ola & Chris (Nigeria), cool gal pals Dalphin & Zainab (Sierra Leone), longtime friends Lee & Keagan (South Africa), ultra-competitive lifelong friends Hilda & Julio (Tanzania), fun-loving buddies Janette & Kyle (Uganda), playful sisters Tamara & Talia (Zambia) and self-confessed drama queen siblings Maneta & Teclar (Zimbabwe) before sending them into the house.


Rap superstar J.Cole departed on a high with a dazzling rendition of “Nobody’s Perfect”, promising Africa that he’d be back to visit again soon.


Viewers and housemates alike always know to expect the unexpected from Big Brother – and StarGame promises to be no different, as IK revealed a new random nomination system – and told a stunned Downville house that nominations would begin immediately, with an eviction already looming on next Sunday’s live show.


This year, Downville housemates won’t be nominating each other. At the end of every Sunday’s live show, a disco ball filled with identical smaller balls will be summoned from the ceiling of the studio by pressing a big red button. Balls featuring the names of all the participating countries will drop into a transparent cube, which will mix them by spinning around. One random ball will be released and the housemate pair from the country whose name appears on that ball will be nominated for eviction. The process will always play out live on the show so that the continent can see which ball falls from the cube – with the process also audited by Sizwe Ntsaluba Gobodo, Southern Africa’s largest black accounting firm.


With the Downville housemates watching in stunned silence, the first nomination began right away – with the ball randomly dropping from the cube bearing the country name ‘Tanzania’. Hilda and Julio could only giggle nervously as they tried to take in what had just happened, when IK received a message from Big Brother that another random nomination should take place. The process was repeated – and verified again by the Sizwe Ntsaluba Gobodo auditor – with Zimbabwe’s ball dropping from the cube – meaning that siblings Maneta & Teclar are also in the eviction firing line.


The Downville house was filled with nervous laughter as IK and Flavia closed out the show by reminding Africa that they had the power to keep their favourite housemate in the house by voting, with lines open immediately and closing at 18:00 CAT next Sunday.


There are three ways to vote to keep your favourite housemate in Big Brother StarGame – via web, SMS or WAP.


To vote via web or WAP, go to www.africamagic.tv/bigbrother, log in, click ‘Vote’ and then click the appropriate button for the housemate you’d like to keep in the house. You may vote once per hour.


To vote via SMS, send the word VOTE followed by the housemate’s name to the number for your country below. SMS’s are charged per specified network tariffs in the various countries. VAS rates apply. Free minutes do not apply. Please note that you can vote 100 times by SMS per telephone number during each voting period.



Unitel                          43333              UTT 6.6



Orange                      16626              P 2,50

Mascom                     16626              P 2,50

BE MOBILE                  16626              P 2,50



MTN                            1474                GHC 0.70

Vodafone                  1474                GHC 0.70

Espresso                      1474                GHC 0.70

Tigo                             1474                GHC 0.70

Airtel                           1474                GHC 0.70



Safaricom                  5626                Kes 30

Orange                      5626                Kes 30

Airtel                           5626                Kes 30



Comium                     2626                USD 0.40

Comcell                     2626                USD 0.40

Lonestar MTN             2626                USD 0.40



TNM                            15626              MK 48.00



MTC                            15626              N$ 3.00

Leo                              15626              N$ 3.00

Telecom                     15626              N$ 3.00



MTN                            34350              N 75

Airtel                           34350              N 75

Globacomm             34350              N 75

Starcomms                 34350              N 75

Etisalat                        34350              N 75

Visafone                     34350              N 75

Multilinks                     34350              N 75


Rest of Africa

SA Long Code           +2783142100414        International Rates


Sierra Leone

Airtel                           2626                USD 0.40

Comium                     2626                USD 0.40

Africell                                    2626                USD 0.40


South Africa

Vodacom                  33729              R 1,50

MTN                            33729              R 1,50

CellC                          33729              R 1,50




Vodacom                  15726              Tsh 600

Tigo                             15726              Tsh 600

Zantel                         15726              Tsh 600



UTL                              7626                Ugx 1000

Warid                          7626                Ugx 1000

MTN                            7626                Ugx 1000

Airtel                           7626                Ugx 1000

Orange                      7626                Ugx 1000



MTN                            15626              ZK 2000

Airtel                           4333                ZK 2100



Econet                       33334              USD 0.50

Netone                       15626              USD 0.50



The winner of Big Brother StarGame will be named after 91 days of head-to-head competition – and the power to award to USD 300 000 prize rests completely in the hands of the viewers.


Big Brother StarGame fans can catch all the latest news, video – and all-important voting information – at www.africamagic.tv/bigbrother. Tweet Big Brother @BigBroAfrica, send SMS messages to the on-screen strap and visit the Big Brother StarGame Facebook Group to get the low-down on the continent’s favourite reality show. By simply pressing the OK button on their DStv remote (on Channel 198) viewers can get updated news and information from the Big Brother StarGame house.


What’s in a Song?

What attracts one to music?
Is it the instrumentation or the lyrical content? I have previously attempted to tackle this issue here. And just like then, the answers are still as blurred.
Today, I bring in some examples starting with urban artiste Fatsani Kalonda whose showbiz name is Blackjack.
This member of youthful dancehall group Nyasa Guruz, which has died earlier than it was supposed to, recently released a solo track ‘Wadya Iwe’.
Soon after its release there was strong debate that the track had obscene lyrical undertones. If one critically listens to the track, they are left with questions as to what exactly is the artist accusing the other of having eaten.
There is controversy surrounding this track with some listeners believing it to be a sexual track and the lyrics that are lewd in nature. I am not here to agree with this assertion, or condemn the artist for coming up with such a track right.
But if truth be told, I knew this song because of the hullabaloo it caused in the music cycles; not because the instrumentation is unique or because it was well and innovatively thought out in terms of its general rhythm, but it has reached far and wide because of its message.
Which takes me back to the questions that I started with; what attracts one to music? Is it the instrumentation or the lyrical content?
Now let me talk about Bushman the iconic Jamaican Reggae artist. Of course he was raised in the Rastafari culture from a young age and this, in a way, moulded his musical theme.
Cannabis is a banned substance because it is considered to be a drug. Many Jamaican artists have sung in support of its usage due to its link to the Rastafari way of life.
Being that as it may, many people talk about cannabis in hushed tones.
But artists like legendary Peter Tosh, equally referred to as the Bush Doctor for his track about cannabis, ‘Legalise Marijuana’ talked about in a way you would think was with tongue-in-cheek or better still a no-holds-barred advocacy for the substance.
Well, while most artists have sung about it like ‘John Holt with Police in a Helicopter’ and even Joseph ‘Culture’ Hill who did a track called ‘Home grown’ in his album ‘Humble African’, lovers of the tracks have paid a deaf ear to the lyrical content.
“Home grown in my back yard, the best herb you could ever find! Home grown in my back yard and Bill Clinton knows it is mine.”
Until his death, Joseph Hill’s music was created beautiful as he used to mix fine lyrics with even fine hooks and with his unique, reedy voice his music was enchanting and made you nod your head even when you could not agree with his message, especially on ‘International Herb’ for example.

Then this “Home Grown” track, which has Morgan Heritage harmonizing it, is the kind of track that takes away your breath due to its melodic prowess, even when you would not approve of its message. You just need to check its popularity rate worldwide.
Perhaps another track of equal controversy to look at is by Bushman called ‘Cannabis’ which starts with some coughing apparently someone choking with marijuana smoke, ensconced into the introductory stages of the track.
Bushman sings praises of Rastafari, chants down Babylon and exalts the healing power of marijuana during his performance and in a track whose lyrics are tight.
If you listen to this track, you will appreciate its balance in terms of instrumentation and vocal control and quality and these are the things that will attract you before you are put off by perhaps the hemp message.
Another good example of where lyrics sometimes can do very little to dissuade music lovers from falling for a piece of music is Lucius Banda’s ‘Yellow’.
This political campaign song had those that were resolute to remove the ruling party from government at the time, cursing its lyrical content but the way the track was instrumentally arranged was something that they failed to ignore.
At the end we still get back to the question: What is in music? Is it the instrumentation or the lyrics?