Minister of Information Gospel Kazako has described veteran musician and broadcaster the late Sweeney Chimkango as a talented person whose gap will be difficult to fill.
Kazako said this on Friday during the funeral service of Sweeney at Mthunzi in Blantyre before his burial at Makwasa in Thyolo District on the same day.
“I am not saying this because he is gone but he was a fine person and believed in professionalism. It is unfortunate that he was not rewarded fully for his immense talent. President Lazarus Chakwera is saddened by his death because he knew him personally,” he said.
Until his death on Thursday at Blantyre Adventist Hospital due to Covid, Sweeney was acting Director of Programmes at Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) Television.
“It is painful because we were looking up to people like him in the new MBC being initiated by the Tonse government led by President Chakwera and this is why he got promoted,” the Information Minister said.
Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Michael Usi said Sweeney’s services will be missed greatly because he was a brilliant producer.
“With his expertise, he produced several programmes including Tikuferanji soapie. I remember him the first day signaling, one, two, three and action. He was someone who had knowledge of art. This is a huge blow,” Usi said.
A somber mood engulfed Mthunzi as people from all walks of life which included government officials, Chimkango’s workmates, fellow artists, traditional leaders and friends graced the funeral service.
Chimkango was a humble human being who inspired many people in different aspects and, through his music, he touched souls, MBC Director General George Kasakula said.
“Sweeney was a decent human being who always spoke positivity. As MBC family, we will miss him and we are mourning together with his family,” Kasakula said.
Veteran gospel musician Allan Ngumuya had people shed tears when he performed a song titled ‘Pamene’ which Chimkango composed and is in Ngumuya’s album titled Tizikumbukira.
There was also a moment when the family, including the deceased’s children, sang one of the songs their father taught them.
“Death is a coward as it strikes when you least expect it, Sweeney has left the country in pain,” said ethno-musician Waliko Makhala.
Sweeney, who was also chairperson of Communications Workers Union having been elected last year, joined the State broadcaster in 1997.
He was behind the production of different programmes on TVM, now MBC, and produced music videos for various artists.
His musical exploits saw him release albums such as Yendanibe and Mfumu ya Luntha as a solo artist.
Born on August 18 1963, Sweeney is survived by a wife and three children.