Jazz Maestro Isaac Mkukupa takes his guitars to heaven, leaves behind a ‘very big legacy’

The mood was sombre and the atmosphere so serene but tense and sorrowful, as one of Malawi’s iconic jazz music legend and godfather, Isaac Mkukupa walked his last yard on mother earth for eternity, was laid to a peaceful rest after a tumultuous send off at the Hempshill Northern Cemetery in Bulwell, Nottingham in South East of England.

The weather was candid as the day was somewhat warm, humid and muggy, and scores of people came from all corners of the United Kingdom and as far as Malawi to say a final goodbye to a music giant and a preacher of the gospel, the man who lived all his life in the service of others.

The remains of Pastor Isaac Mkukupa being taken to the cemetery – Pic by Timothy Phiri

The skies were blue and the clouds were dancing in sync with the blustery winds beyond the horizon, a symbol that heavens were ready and sturdy to receive on of its great son after accomplishing his God-given assignments.

It was a befitting send off for Pastor Mkukupa as his eventful was life celebrated with pomp and candour as family, friends and people of goodwill gathered to celebrate bass guitar connoisseur who strived on thriving at marvelling people who love good music for a good five decades.

The ceremony, which was held at the late Pastor Mkukupa’s place of praise and worship, Bulwell Baptist Church was dictated by mixed emotions and bitter sweet; it was sad to know he was leaving for a world yonder, but at the same time it was scintillating to celebrate a life of a man who gave everything to mankind.

Pastor Mkukupa’s memorial service and funeral rights was dictated by beautiful music performances and eulogies from family and friends, sermons and speeches – and first to perform were the late Mkukupa’s children who included Eddie. Rudo, Matamando and Asante who sang beautifully but brought an emotional streak to those in attending the event.

Pastor Nick and Rudo Chakwera laying a wreath.- Pic by Timothy Phiri

Then came the late Jazzman’s grand children who performed well and above anybody expectation that if the departed see what happens, Pastor Mkukupa would be smiling and proud that he has left an indelible mark on his family; his children and grandchildren.

Also performing at the service was gospel artist Gertrude Munthali and the church band who dished out an avalanche of music goodies.

Attending the service, was Pastor Nick Chakwera, son to Malawi’s incumbent president and Head , Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, who travelled all the way from Malawi escorting his wife Rudo Mkukupha Chakwera to bury her beloved father.

Nick Chakwera, did not, however, came with pomp and flair expected with a son of a sitting president; he came as a grieving son in law in mourning and his demeanour was ordinary.

Commenting on Nick Chakwera’s Rowland Mahata said: “I am very pleased with the way he has carried himself. He is humble, respectful and above all else an equal among equals.

“If it was someone else, he could have come with all that son of a president hullabaloo and funfair with an army of security and bodyguards. Nick chose to be just a husband to a wife who has lost a father.

Mkukupa’s children eulogising their father. Pic by Timothy Phiri

“Nick is his father son. Simple and down to earth and I find how he has handled himself is superlatively incredible. Such a gent.”

Also attending the celebration of the legendary Isaac Mkukupha’s life and burial ceremony was Malawi’s deputy High Commissioner to London Quent Kalichero.

Delivering their eulogies, Mkukupha’s children all said one thing and that their father was a loving, caring and a teacher of all things good and better.

President Lazarus Chakwera sent his recorded message eulogising the late Mkukupha describing him as a special kind.

Bishop Chiphawaliwali too had some nice things about the late Mkukupha, he said:

“Pastor Mkukupha was a great man. He loved making people happy and that is why he dedicated his life to serve mankind and God.”

A Nottingham based Zimbabwean musician who attended and performed at the funeral service said Pastor Mkukupha treated everyone regardless of social status, age or religious believes. He was humanity personified.

“Pastor Mkukupha was and will forever be the best mentor and great teacher of music. He might have packed his guitars and take them to his maker, but he has left a very big legacy.

“So as we celebrate his life, let us remember that the he was a man of integrity, honour and great love for music. As he rests in God’s glory may we keep the memories and the legacy,” he said.

The late Isaac Mkukupha is survived by his wife, Gloria, children and grandchildren.

May his gentle soul jazz in peace!

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2 years ago

The jazzman is gone! Still remember the special jam session he played with another departed jazz guitar maestro Don Mlenga to an audience of one. I happened to be the audience. Will miss your great company.

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