The name Evison Matafale will always be part of the country’s history and one cannot talk of reggae music in Malawi without mentioning the name Matafale.
Matafale was a Rastafarian who used music to speak for the oppressed. He was the founder and leader of reggae group Black Missionaries.
His death on November 27 2001 shocked the country and a lot of people had fears that this would be the end of Black Missionaries.
But 20 years down the line, Black Missionaries, popularly known as Blacks is still active and enjoying the limelight, continuing the mission that Matafale started.
It has been a long and winding road for the group and Blacks’ lead vocalist Anjiru Fumulani is thankful to God for the blessings.
“We thank God that he has been with us as we continue the mission that Evison Matafale started. We are here because he cleared the way,” Anjiru said.
And, so, every November, the reggae group has been remembering Matafale.
“Although he (Matafale) is not with us in body, he is always with us in spirit. Without him, Black Missionaries would not be here. We are thankful to him for teaching us all the things we are doing today,” he said.
Anjiru said, apart from the talent they have, most of the things they are doing now were imparted in them by Matafale.
“Even [when it comes to] compositions and arrangement of songs, instrumentation and the stories in our songs, we are still using his techniques but people cannot be comparing Anjiru to Matafale or Anjiru to Musamude,” he said.
Anjiru described Matafale as someone who was full of stories and that he loved them.
“He showed us his love and his teachings were great and most of what he said has come to pass,” he said.
Although the memorial was created to remember Matafale, Anjiru said they also take it as an opportunity to remember other fallen artists from Chileka, among them Musamude, who led Blacks after Matafale’s demise, and Gift Fumulani.
“Musamude and Gift were amazing artists. They also taught us a lot and today we continue using their techniques. We would like to thank people for their continued support,” Anjiru said.
It has been a challenge for them to hold the memorial show and this has seen them shifting it from one ground to the other but Anjiru confirmed yesterday that the 20th edition will take place at Civo Ground, Gadaga, Chileka, Blantyre, on Sunday.
As we went to press Thursday, Anjiru said a lot of artists had expressed interest in performing.
Apart from them as headliners alongside Anthony Makondetsa, Moda Fumulani, Khozie Masimbe and Yanjanani Chumbu, other confirmed acts included Waliko Makhala, Green Band and Young Generations.
The group which is also set to release Kuimba 12 album, warms up the memorial with other gigs at Culture Club in Salima District tonight and then a performance at Road Traffic Day tomorrow afternoon before invading Modern Park in Balaka tomorrow night.
In another development Masintha Ground in Lilongwe will on Sunday also host free-of-charge Mathumela Festival featuring over 20 artists.