Cementing peace, rhythm by rhythm


In several countries across the globe, societies have been ravaged by wars and civil conflicts that have accounted for many deaths and left many maimed and others with emotional scars that would take long, if not a lifetime, to heal.

Where people are fighting, the marginalised are usually antagonised; children and women suffer a lot and human rights abuses occur. This is why several organisations are working tirelessly to foster peace.

Fortunately for Malawi, we have over the years jealously safeguarded our reputation as a peaceful country known world over as ‘the warm heart of Africa’…a land full of a people that are kind and friendly.


Little wonder one of the country’s reputed musicians, late Allan Namoko, coined a song Ubale that touts the importance of building relations in a society, pointing out that it is through such relations that co-existence and peace is built upon.

Namoko, using the magic of his acoustic guitar and footdrum, drives home the point that sometimes people argue over the most trivia things, thereby threatening the very essence of building relations and fostering peace:

Ubale — umayamba mtendere!


Ubale — umayamba mtendere!


Nthawi zina, pamapezeka munthu kutengana ndi mzake

ulendo kukacheza

koma tsopano kumapezeka kuti komweko kochezako kuyambanako

pamenewo ndiye kuti sichibale!

Ubale — umayamba mtendere!

Ubale — umayamba mtendere!

Ubale — umayamba mtendere!

Ubale — umayamba mtendere!

Chifukwa pali ubale ndiye pali mtenderepo

popanda mtendere, palibe chibale

Chifukwa chache pamapezeka kuti anthu oyendera limodzi

nthawi zina ndithudi kudana popanda chenicheni chodanilana

pamenepo olo ndiye kuti palibe chibale, inu!

Ubale — umayamba mtendere!

Ubale — umayamba mtendere!

Ubale — umayamba mtendere!

Ubale — umayamba mtendere!

The idea of peace does not always have to be associated with wars or conflict as sometimes even in a peaceful environment, some people would embark on a quest to attain peace of mind.

In the eyes of a Christian, it is not that human beings are any special or unique that they deserve peace but it is because the one whom they consider their saviour and regard as the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, gives them everlasting peace:

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14 verse 7, King James Version)

This too is aptly covered through music and here at home, we have a local song by Billy Kaunda titled Mtendere, in which he portrays how most people fantasize about perfect peace:

Ndani yemwe samaufuna mtendere pano padziko lapansi?

Wina aliyense wamoyo amaufuna mtendere mumtima

Kodi inu mukamakhala

Mumaufuna mtendere wotani?

Wina ati koma ineyo ndikanakhala ndichuma chambiri

Kumanga nyumba yapamwamba yoposa ina iliyonseyo

Chilichonse mnyumba momwemo

ayi mzangawawe wasankhamtendere

Wina ati koma ineyo ndikanakhala ophunzira zedi

Ma degree ambirimbiri

Anthu mkumandipatsa ulemu

Wina ati koma ineyo nkanabadwira dziko lakutali

Wina ati koma ineyo ndikanakhala mtsogoleri wadziko

Anthu azindigwadira ndikamadutsa aziomba mmanja

Nayimba nyimbo zonditamanda choncho ndikanapeza mtendere

Aaah mtendere wanga!

(Mtendere wanga ndikusiyirani)

Aaaaatero Yehova! (mtenderewu ndiweniweni)

Aaah osati momwe! (osati momwe dziko lapansi)

Aaaaah likupatsirani (likupatsirani mtendere wake)

Mtendere wam’dziko umatha

Aaaah wakwa mulungu ndiye wosatha!

It was therefore quite disturbing to hear, not so long ago, that there was simmering tensions between indigenous Malawians and Malawians of Asian Origin, a situation that was quickly averted and aptly handled by the Ministry of National Unity and Civic Education. We are told the bone of contention was the perception by the locals that Asians of Malawian origin were at the apex of the deeply infested corruption in the country.

The Asians of Malawian Origin felt hard done by as they argued that branding every one of them as corrupt was simply unfair.

But that is not where our story lies. Our interest is the swift action taken by government officials, in particular government, to quell the matter and foster peace.

A classic song that springs to mind in relation to the above matter is that of Lucius Banda called Negotiate, off his maiden album Son of a Poor Man. It takes people to the days of Moses and the people of Egypt:

Moses! Moses! You want to kill me?

Moses! Moses! Like that Egyptian!

Don’t fight, negotiate

We got to find a solution

Don’t fight negotiate

That’s the way to stop the war!

There was a battle today,

Too many battles to day!

No matter which way one looks at it, it is clear that peace has been a subject of many songs by artists in the country; whether it relates to political, religion, sports or socioeconomic issues. There is a whole litany of artists who have delved into the subject.

Indeed, there also comes a time when one must fight in order to attain peace, but it has often been pointed out that peace cannot be attained through the barrel of a gun but contact and dialogue.

Such issues bordering on peace have also attracted the attention of international artists from time immemorial. Even reggae icon Bob Marley has through his songs such as Africa Unite, Zimbabwe and War inked his signature as an envoy of peace and revolution.

The song War, which came out at the heart of the struggle for independence in most Africa countries, goes in part:

And until the ignoble and unhappy regimes

That hold our brothers in Angola

In Mozambique

South Africa

Sub-human bondage

Have been toppled

Utterly destroyed

Well, everywhere is war

Me say war

War in the east

War in the west

War up north

War down south

War – war

Rumours of war

And until that day

The African continent

Will not know peace

We Africans will fight – we find it necessary

And we know we shall win

As we are confident

In the victory

Society must therefore acknowledge the role that music has played, time and again, to help deal with conflicts but most importantly, to cement peace in the community, not brick by brick but rather, rhythm by rhythm.

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