Malawi risk losing use of the national anthem

The family of late Michael Fredrick Paul Sauka, composer of the Malawi national anthem, has asked government to stop using the anthem, claiming government is not fulfilling promises it made during Msauka’s funeral to take care of his family.

Francis Sauka, nephew to late Michael Sauka, told the local media that the family has been asking government to assist the family for 32 years but nothing has materialised.

He added that during the funeral of Sauka in August, 1990, government promised to be taking care of the family, in addition to unveiling a decent tomb but nothing has happened up to now.

Malawi National Anthem composer, Michael Sauka

“We have tried our best to engage government on the issue but to no avail. This is what has prompted us to come up with this idea that government should stop using the current national anthem. We feel government is failing to honour someone who did such a good job of composing the national anthem. As I speak now, Mr Sauka’s wife is struggling to make ends meet in Balaka,” explained Francis.

But government through Acting Deputy Director of Culture responsible for museums in the Department of Culture, Dr Lovemore Mazibuko, said it does not have any documents containing the alleged promises but it was working on modalities to honour all citizens that demonstrated outstanding service to the nation.

“As government, we cherish all the good works that were done by people like Mr Michael Sauka. We are working on modalities to identify such people and honour them accordingly,” remarked Dr Mazibuko.

In preparation for independence, a prize of 100 Pound Sterling was offered to anyone who would compose the Malawi National Anthem and the winner was 29-year-old Michael Fredrick Paul Sauka who was an organist at the Zomba Cathedral of the Catholic Church.

Sauka was born in 1934 in Chiradzulu District and attended Nankhunda Seminary in Zomba where he received both primary and secondary education. He developed interest in Gregorian Church music and went to study music in London but returned without much success as he was better at the practical than the theoretical side.

He worked for the Malawi Post Office and the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC).

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