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Grace Chinga’s children cry foul

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Grace Chinga was a talented gospel singer and composer, who blessed many souls with her music and her death in March last year left many in shock.

But her children, led by Miracle, have been on the up, continuing her music journey.

Miracle’s first outing was when she launched one of her mother’s albums Esther. This is one of the three albums which Grace Chinga was yet to release.

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The youthful singer has been performing in different gospel concerts, the latest being the Best Five Gospel show at Robin’s Park in Blantyre on Sunday.

Miracle has also earned herself an award – Best Female Gospel Artist, courtesy of the Nyasa Music Awards. But the award has not gone down well with some quarters.

But while there is progress in continuing the journey that their mother left, the children have indicated that they are not benefiting from their mother’s music.

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They have since alleged that their uncle Davie Chinga is getting all the proceeds. They have also revealed that their uncle has released a DVD which is on the market without letting the family know.

With this problem on their table, the children have come out to reveal the issue.

Grace’s son Steve Spesho, who is also a producer, posted on a forum titled Grace Chinga’s music and Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) that they were in need of help as regards the situation they were in.

“The issue is that after my mother passed away we decided to keep her music alive and Miracle had to continue. We then shot a DVD and we registered it with Cosoma (Mzuzu) to protect it and they promised the DVD would be protected,” he explained.

He said, after that, they noticed that there were fake DVDs with Cosoma holograms being sold in almost all music outlets.

Steve Spesho said this destroyed their market such that they did not make money from DVD sales.

“We found out that Cosoma is dealing with our uncle Mr Davie Chinga and they are selling him stickers, authorising him to be selling the DVDs,” he alleged.

He said their worry was that his sister Miracle and brother Israel were still at school and that they have no-one to help them.

“We thought the music would help Miracle and Israel to do school,” Steve Spesho said.

Several artists felt for the children and shared their comments on the issue, with others asking them to take the matter to police or legal authorities.

Steve Spesho also alleged that their uncle has released one of their late mother’s unreleased albums on his own.

Miracle also indicated that they were not benefiting from the music industry and that when they inquire more on the DVD from their uncle they are told nothing.

“Maybe you have been seeing me going to shows during school time, it’s not that I want to be doing that but there is no way out for me to raise money for school fees and other needs,” she said.

She claimed that their uncle told them outright that they can report anywhere including Cosoma where he is well known.

Miracle also posted an audio conversation with her uncle where he puts it outright that he will deal with them.

Their uncle Davie Chinga could not be reached for his comment yesterday.

A source close to the family confirmed he is aware of the issue.

“I am aware of the issue and the children came to me and complained but let me not comment much,” he said.

Some artists on the forum questioned Cosoma for going ahead to give holograms to the children’s uncle without proper arrangements and that the Mzuzu Cosoma branch should be sued.

Musicians Union of Malawi (Mum) President, writing on the forum, said they would make sure that the children benefit from their mother’s work.

“I called Cosoma and as far as they are concerned they are waiting to get instructions from the family. Her royalties are also yet to be distributed. As Mum and on humanitarian grounds, we will not sit and watch the children of late Grace suffering. The children are supposed to be major beneficiaries,” Mhango said.

Cosoma Senior Licensing Officer Rosario Kamanga said he did not have all the facts so he advised the children to write the copyright body.

“With regards to royalties, artists are asked to fill Cosoma beneficiary forms in which they indicate how proceeds from their works would be shared. Late Grace Chinga did not complete such a form,” Kamanga said.

He added that the family (late Grace’s mother and brother) was consulted on the matter and that they have not yet come back to Cosoma.

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