Honoured while alive: How Chakwera dignified legendary Lucius Banda while alive

Departed legendary musician Lucius Banda is gone, and gone for good. He succumbed to kidney failure on 30 June 2024.

President Chakwera and the First Lady madame Monica Chakwera posing for a picture with Lucius and his brothers Paul and Francis and Lucius Banda’s wife, Sunganani after the visit

During his tour of the planet earth, Soldier Lucius Banda, as he was fondly called by his fans, soothed the heartbroken, while to the oppressors, he gave an admonition.

Lucius Banda, born on 17 August 1970, was unarguably one of the finest musicians to emerge out of Malawi for his music portrays the social, economic and cultural constraints faced by ordinary Malawians.

His legacy dated back to 1983. At the age of 13, he was already showing signs of liking music. His maiden stage appearance was in 1985 when his brother Paul Banda made him a member of his Alleluya Band.

He left the band and began recording as a solo artist. He released his debut album ‘Son of a Poor Man’. The project was recorded at Shandel Music Studio. An Argentine called George Arigone assisted him to perfect his backing vocals.

He attended a school of music in South Africa. His dream of studying music was fulfilled in 1993 when he joined Dorkey House in Johannesburg where he spent a full year studying music. This was followed by the release of his song ‘Get Up Stand Up’. The track made him popular. This saw him doing collaborations with South African gospel musicians such as Nomhlanlha Nkhize and Debora Freser.

In 1997, he founded a band called Zembani. This was after the launch of his fourth album titled ‘Take Over’. In 2010 he released another album called ‘15-15- My Song’. The music project was banned by the state broadcaster due to its political content. In 2015, he released his 18th album called ‘Thank You’.

Throughout his career in music, Lucius Banda never hesitated to compose a song that would deliver a message strong message to the powers that be at the Capital Hill whenever something went amiss. And that endeared him to the downtrodden.

However, Lucius Banda was not convinced with the response his message got from the oppressors. He saw oppression growing despite his rebuttal. He saw Malawians being betrayed by the very leaders they voted into power.

This prompted him to join politics so that he could fight from within. He contested for a parliamentary seat on the UDF ticket, which he won with landslide victory.

But despite spearheading the fight against one-party state, Lucius Banda did not receive the honour he deserved. Acually, his fight for equal justice earned him a backlash from the government under the departed former President Bingu wa Mutharika administration. He was arrested and imprisoned him on account of a school certificate. This is despite the fact that Mutharika was a beneficiary of the battle the musician fought to oust the then one-party administration. All, but the President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera’s administration, did not honour him the way they should have done. President Chakwera felt the departed musician deserved more. That is why he appointed him his aide on Youth and Arts, a position he held until his death.

President Chakwera saw in Lucius Banda a man who wanted nothing, but the best for every Malawian. That is why he mourned his death with deep sadness.

He acknowledged that Banda’s political activism through music that captured our hopes and dreams, especially during the fight for democracy, helped in shaping the Malawi nation, giving voice to the voiceless and challenging injustices.

“Lucius’ legacy as a champion of the oppressed and a beacon of hope will forever inspire us. His contributions to our culture and governance, including his service as a Member of Parliament, will be cherished and remembered,” he reacted.

Meanwhile, President Chakwera will on Thursday lead Malawians at the funeral ceremony of departed musician.

Lucius Banda who will be buried in Balaka District. An uncle to the deceased, Eliyasi Kamoto, has since thanked President Chakwera for the love and compassion displayed to their relative throughout the period that he had been in hospital.

“I have seen the Vice President Dr. Michael Ussi among us, I have also seen the Minister of Local Government and National Unity Richard Chimwendo Banda here, please covey our heartfelt thanks to the State President,” he said at Chileka Airport yesterday when welcoming the body.

Late Banda lies at his residence at Andiamo (Kaumphawi Village) where a vigil is being held, awaiting burial on Thursday.


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