Former Alleluya and Zembani bands bassist and keyboardist and owner of the famous Chikondi Stop Over on the M1 Road, Noel Makadali, is no more.
Makadali, who died at Zomba General Hospital on Friday, was laid to rest Sunday in Toleza Village, Sub Traditional Authority Toleza, in Balaka District.
Several artists mourned Makadali on Friday, describing him as a humble person who assisted many.
“It is very hard to believe you have really closed your eyes Mr Noel Makadali of Chikondi Stop Over. You trusted my art talent and gave me an opportunity to do sign writing at Chikondi Stop Over,” visual artist Madalitso Ziwaoh said.
South Africa-based artist Victor Paul described the death of Makadali as a heavy blow to the country, saying he contributed immensely to the growth of music in Balaka, having starred for Alleluya Band and Zembani Band.
Soldier Lucius Banda said Sunday he was saddened by Makadali’s death, adding that they performed together for years in Alleluya and Zembani bands.
“I found him playing the bass guitar when I joined Alleluya Band in 1985; he was a gentle guy, very smart and we really clicked because, when I started performing music by Lucky Dube, he embraced my performances and used to leave the bass guitar and join me in dancing. He was full of energy and we did this for a long time,” he said.
In 1997, Lucius left Alleluya Band after performing for years and went on to form Zembani Band and was joined by Makadali and Coss Chiwalo.
“In Alleluya Band, Noel Makadali was playing the bass guitar but in Zembani Band he switched to playing keyboards,” he said.
Lucius said Makadali performed with Zembani Band from 1997 to 2001.
“We had great moments and I remember, alongside him, Mlaka Maliro and others, in 2000 we travelled to the United Kingdom. When we came back, we realised he was the oldest member of the band with the rest youngsters and it was then that he decided to move on with a different thing and ventured into business,” he said.
Lucius said Makadali went on to establish Chikondi Stop Over business, starting off at Balaka Market before expanding the business and later settling along the M1 Road.
“I was amazed at how he developed it to become the hottest spot on the M1 Road just after Chingeni. He named it after his first-born son and the things that he used to stock, including the different types of meat, attracted people,” he said.
Makadali, who succumbed to diabetes and hypertension, was among the Alleluya Band old guards and other players who were recognised for their immense contribution in the evangelisation of the word of God by Balaka Parish for the past 44 years in May this year.
Born in the 1960s, Makadali is survived by four children.