Artists voice out concerns at Grace Chinga’s funeral
Former Musicians Association of Malawi (Mam) President now Musicians Union of Malawi (Mum) trustee Wellington Chatepa on Saturday took advantage of gospel singer Grace Chinga’s funeral at Robins Park in Blantyre to voice out some of the challenges artists are facing in the country.
Chatepa while bemoaning the death of Chinga, who he described as a versatile singer and composer said artists were failing to make progress because of lack of support from the people.
He observed that many musicians were suffering and that they were failing to make ends meet because of piracy.
“Musicians are struggling out there, they sweat to produce songs but there is too much piracy out there and so we call upon people to support artists by buying original works,” said Chatepa.
Chatepa spoke for a long-time bringing in several issues including the issue of the Arts Council which artists are fighting for but this did not go down well with the people inside the Robins Park Hall.
Some started booing Chatepa saying he brought the musicians’ challenges at a wrong platform as people were in mourning but this did not stop him from finishing his speech.
But others defended Chatepa saying he did well as a lot of artists are suffering and that many are not honoured when they are alive.
“Look at the thousands of people attending Grace Chinga’s funeral today, but how many supported her by buying her original works? I commend Mr Chatepa for being brave to speak about artists challenges since there were a lot of high profile people,” said James Kapichi.
During the event Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) board chairperson Charles Sinetre and Christian Artists Network chairperson Chimwemwe Mizaya spoke.
Minister of Sports and Culture Grace Chiumia, who was in attendance said government was aware of the challenges that artists were facing in the country and that it was doing something.
During the funeral service traditional leaders also took a swipe at artists, who organised Chinga’s funeral ceremony for failing to consult them and doing things on their own.
The chiefs sounded this following the presence of thousands of people at Robins Park which forced them to close the doors early with more people outside.
The traditional leaders said the funeral service could have been held at an open ground.
Earlier on Pastor Isaac Mpazula said they had initially planned to bury Chinga at Stella Maris but the musicians requested the family to allow them to bury the singer at HHI.
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