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Venue access haunts Evison Matafale memorial show

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The annual Evison Matafale memorial show for 2016 was held at Gadaga in Chileka, Blantyre shifting from Mankhokwe ground where it has been held for the past two years.

Despite the change of venue, thousands of people who travelled from different places patronised the show.

It rained cats and dogs in some parts of Blantyre but Chileka was spared as the memorial went on without the rains until to the end.

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Black Missionaries lead vocalist Anjiru Fumulani admitted that they have problems to access a venue every year.

“Let me say it here that every year we have problems with the venue, we do not have our own ground to hold the memorial and so we have to negotiate with airport authorities and lucky enough they understand but it is a hassle,” Anjiru said.

He said it was in this vein that this time they were Civo ground which appeared to be convenient as it swallowed the huge patronage without any problems unlike Mankhokwe which is close to the main road.

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Anjiru said that they are always given restrictions and that this time around, among others, they were instructed that the memorial should finish by 6pm.

But with several acts on song, the performances spilled over to 6:30pm forcing some of the police officers to invade the stage as Black Missionaries was performing.

Although some of the people wanted the memorial to go on until the night as has been the case in the past years, the memorial ended at exactly 6:30pm.

By 9pm Chileka Road was clear, especially of those who normally prefer to walk to and from the venue from places like Chirimba.

In between Blacks’ performance, Anjiru kept on reminding the people to refrain from violence.

“Let’s not fight and let’s not throw stones at vehicles when we are going home,” Anjiru pleaded with the audience.

He hailed people for the support for the memorial, adding it is important that they celebrate the life of Matafale and other fallen Chileka siblings such as Gift and Musamude Fumulani.

Anthony Mr Cool Makondetsa also thanked people for the violent-free memorial and called upon them to behave when walking to their respective homes.

The memorial lived up to its billing and as usual some people carried Rastafarian and the country’s flags.

Dreadlocks flew on the day, some people painted their faces with Rastafarian colours of red, gold and green while others wore Rastafarian clothes and scarves.

Some wore T-shirts of Matafale while others were in reggae maestro Bob Marley’s T-shirts.

People cashed in on the show selling different foodstuffs and items while some took advantage to sell Indian hemp which sold like hot cakes and people were all over smoking.

While some got drunk after taking more drinks, others enjoyed the memorial, singing and dancing throughout.

The platform also brought unity among artists and saw Black Missionaries and Wailing Brothers once again share the stage having also done so during the launch of Toza Matafale’s Cry 2 album at Motel Paradise in Blantyre.

The artists, however, could not perform for long due to time with some only offering a song each.

Apart from Black Missionaries and Wailing Brothers, the other artists, who performed during the memorial include Ivory-Coast-based female musician Tamanyawaka Chavula, Arnold and Moda Fumulani, Toza Matafale and Anthony Makondetsa.

Wailing Brothers’ lead vocalist Takudziwani Chokani said the memorial was a success and that it was violent-free.

“This is an important event not only for Black Missionaries, Wailing Brothers or other Chileka siblings but for the nation. We just want to thank those who came for the support and we assure them that this will continue,” Chokani said.

He said Matafale and others have contributed greatly to the development of music in the country as well as creating Black Missionaries and Wailing Brothers, hence, it was important to keep on celebrating their lives.

Random interviews with fans indicated that they were satisfied with the memorial although some felt it ended early.

“I attended the memorial last year and here I am again this year. I always make sure I do not miss, actually for your information I have walked from Chirimba just to come and appreciate reggae music,” said Dingiswayo Phiri.

He said it was unfortunate that people associate the memorial with violence and other bad things and yet it is not.

“This is a good event and good for the nation and it deserves support. Of course, you cannot run away from some chaos because this is a free show,” he said.

Apart from the Police, offering security, renowned body builder Mr Ichocho through his team also strengthened security.

Matafale, who formed and led Black Missionaries, died on November 27, 2001 while in police custody following his arrest after authoring what was considered seditious material.

The reggae maestro rose to fame and became one of the country’s favourite musicians in 2000 through the release of his debut Kuimba.

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