Mjura Mkandawire’s burial date set for July 30: Son Watipaso says ‘God blessed him with unusual talent’

The burial of Malawi’s choral expert composer of the popular Kunali John Chilembwe song, Mjura Mkandawire, who died on Thursday at the age of 87, will take place on Tuesday 30 July 2013.

According to one of Mkandawire’s London based son, Watipaso Mkandawire, burial will be held in Chihoro village, Livingstonia in northern region’s district of Rumphi.

“My Dad was born on 17 September 1926 and thus he has died just short of his 87th Birthday,” Watipaso told Nyasa Times from United States of America where he was on a tour of duty.

He said late Mjura studied at Khondowe, Blantyre Secondary School and later Adams College in South Africa.

Mjura Mkandawire
Mjura Mkandawire

After teaching in Nyamandlovu in Bulawayo and later Mhuju, he joined MBC in 1963.

“God blessed him with a long life and an unusual talent. He loved, lived and breathed music. Apart from working as producer in MBC, he once managed the MBC Band. He retired in 1981 and joined Blantyre Teachers College and  later Phwezi teaching music. After retiring, he continued to compose and write music. He was hired a number of times to write music for several institutions or groups including SADC,” said Watipaso.

“His eyes started failing later in life and after a couple of operations, his sight was never the same. Everyday he fought hoping his eye sight would be restored just for the love of music.

“His health slowly faded with emerging health challenges especially stomach and digestive problems especially in 2012. In February this year, he was diagnosed with rectal cancer. He went through a radiotherapy programme in Zambia and continued on chemotherapy after returning back home.”

According to Watipaso, in his final days,  late Mjura  took great pride and discussed at great length (or gave lectures) to any visitor who dared open his mouth and asked about music.

“He talked endlessly about music and his experiences during his work life in London at the BBC, Northern Ireland where he studied music and MBC where he worked most of his life.

“His last known interview was with Brian Banda (Capital FM) and I still remember how he struggled and laughed when Brian asked him that long after he was gone, how would he want people to remember him! I am sure he would want to be remembered as a Malawian from Chihoro village who encouraged musicians to know how to read and write music.”

Watipaso said the family is thankful for the “wonderful tributes, love and support the family has been given during this trying period and more especially throughout Mr  Mjura Mkandawire’s life. “

Mjura is survived by a wife Donas has left six children and 14 grandchildren.

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