The 17th edition of the late Evison Matafale memorial suffered a setback on Sunday at Civo Ground, Gadaga, Chileka in Blantyre as rains disrupted performances once again just like last year.
In 2017, the memorial could not proceed due to heavy rains but last year and this year despite having heavy rains, the performances continued late on.
On Sunday, the memorial once again attracted thousands of people from all walks of life, some were earlier seen walking to the memorial from as far as Chirimba Township and back after the memorial in the evening.
The Rastafarian colours of red, black, green, and gold were visible during the memorial.
Being Matafale memorial, some people even carried pictures of the reggae maestro while others put on T-shirts with the face of him on it.
The performances started on a good note with acts such as Lambanie Dube entertaining the audience, before the rains came.
The rains persisted when Saint of the ‘Delilah’ fame, who attracted huge applause from the audience took over the stage.
He weaved his way through with a free style that saw him moving from one track to the other, most of which the audience was familiar and sang along.
Saint did not continue his performance with the rains as the equipment got soaked and the technical team had no choice but to switch off all the equipment for safety.
While some people sought shelter in different places running away from the rains, others decided to remain on the ground where they got soaked.
In the absence of sound, people started chanting songs such as mvula ndi madalitso, ife sitiyimva (rains are blessings, we are not going anywhere), mukuchedwa tivine pano (you are delaying us, we want to dance), sitilola sound ilire (we want music, otherwise we won’t go).
With the rains persisting, the audience went into more chants and the others went like Ma Blacks ndi abale athu (Black Missionaries are our relatives) and Matafale ndi mkulu wathu (Matafale is our elder brother).
It looked as if the memorial would end there with the equipment being removed, but after it stopped with some people still longing for the reggae vibes, Black Missionaries led by lead vocalist Anjiru Fumulani had no choice but to direct the technical team to put the equipment back.
The announcement created excitement to the audience.
It however, took some time before things went into gear late on with Black Missionaries Anthony Makondetsa, Khozie Masimbe, Moda Fumulani and Yanjanani Chumbu performing.
Although there were challenges at times with the sound output since the equipment soaked, the performances progressed well with Black Missionaries closing the curtain.
Anjiru said in between Blacks’ performance that they were thankful to God for the rains.
“ Do you remember Matafale? We just want to remind you that the aim of this day is to remember Evison Matafale, the founder of Black Missionaries and the beginning of reggae music as well as the king of reggae in Malawi and he is still the king up to this very day,” he said.
The lead vocalist dressed in a yellow shirt with the face of Matafale on the front and the list of 12, Kuimba 2 songs on the back, also made special mention of other artists such as Musamude and Gift Fumulani as being celebrated on the day.
“We would like to thank you for the support you have given us all these years, Matafale, Musamude, Gift and others left us long time ago but their spirits still live on, without your support we are nothing,” he said.
Anjiru said they knew that people were disappointed with the rains disrupting the memorial.
“But we cannot question God, we need to praise Him for the rains because they are blessings and we are thankful for understanding all this,” he said.
Anjiru then went on to appeal to people to refrain from violence.
“We are thankful that there has been no violence and as you go home, travel safely and refrain from violence. We also pray for peace and love in the country,” he said.
As if to say thank you to Matafale for starting the mission, Blacks performed songs from Kuimba 2 and they included tracks such as ‘Rasta Has the Answer’, ‘Chauta Ndi Wamphamvu’, and ‘Poison So Sweet’.
One of the fans, who travelled all the way from Lunzu, Bright Longwe, said despite the rains they enjoyed the reggae vibes.
“This happens every year having rains but we are happy we had more acts after the rains although late,” Longwe said.
Matafale, who formed and led Black Missionaries, died on November 27 2001.