Book celebrates music legends Soldier, Sir Paul


Writer Yokoniya Chilanga has penned a book titled A Dance in The River which celebrates Balaka-based musical giants Soldier Lucius Banda and his brother Sir Paul.

The book has been published by Monfort Media.

Chilanga said Thursday he wrote the book during Covid lockdown in 2020.


“I gave myself a vacation to write. You might have heard that Harper Lee, the late American novelist, wrote her first novel To Kill a Mocking bird in late 1950 after her friends gave her a one-year vacation to stay away from her job, and write whatever she pleases,” Chilanga said.

“The present was a one-year salary that she could get if she were to stay on her job that year. But that was Harper Lee and her friends. For me, I know, most of my friends are damn broke fellows, and can’t afford me any vacation. So I knew if I were to be waiting for a friend to give me a vacation, I would be waiting in vain,” the writer said.

He said he did not plan to write something like this but was happy with the growth he had made.


“I found myself mainly exploring the cultural anthropology of my people through the stories. At the centre, or I should say as a way to tell my disjointed stories, I put three boys as the main protagonists in the story. These boys were growing up in the late 1990s during the rise of Lucius Banda. They were admiring and aspiring to become a Lucius Banda,” he said.

Chilanga said he was telling the experiences of the boys with the musicians in their home town of Balaka that was growing to be a bubbling town — full of life and looked like it owned all the celebrities of the late 90s and early 2000s.

“I am picturing life in those times. I am trying to represent life in such times. Though, I can’t say that this story is a perfect representation of such ages because, I appreciate, many things happened, and one would require maybe a very copious book like 2,000 pages to fully exhaust these legends. But I chose just to do it in this small story,” he said.

Chilaya said the story ends in some tragedy, as one of the three boys, Chakudza, while on his way to Balaka District to meet Lucius Banda for the first time, after he was promised a meeting, had to cross a river.

“Napolo got him in the middle of crossing the river. He had a guitar strapped on the carrier of his bicycle. He was swept by the waters. In the river he chanced on an uprooted mango tree he, aboard the mango with his guitar, religiously clutched in his hand,” Chilanga said.

He said the book was on the market and that it could be accessed at Baobab Bookshop in Lilongwe and Claim Bookshop in Blantyre.

He said, being his debut book he considers it as a learning curve and a stepping stone to take on more challenging tasks.

Lucius could not be reached for his comment on the development yesterday but Sir Paul welcomed it.

“I am happy that people out there continue to recognise our music exploits. I hope to read the book,” Sir Paul, who has been out of the stage due to illness, said.

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