US Malawians in golden jubilee jamboree: Lawi, Maskal and Lilly Alfonso to spice

Diaspora Malawians in United States of America (USA) will on Friday July 4th join native Americans countrywide in celebrating the Independence Day, but for them it will be a double header as it be a day on which they kick-start the carousing hooked on the commemoration of Malawi’s Golden Jubilee celebrations.

On this day, while the American skies will be decorated with fireworks in the hearts of Malawians living in the US will affix and pin their minds on a historical memory lane of the homeland as their Southern African country will be celebrating 50 years of independence from their colonial masters, the British, 48 hours later.

Joined by the Malawian envoy to Washington Steve Matenje, scores of Malawians are poised to mark Malawi’s 50thIndependence Day celebrations in Maryland with pomp, grandeur and style dictated by an allure and zing of Malawian cuisines and music and dance and fashion for three thrilling days starting this Friday July 4th through to Sunday 6th July.

Isabel Napho Liabunya: All set for Malawi@50 celebrations
Isabel Napho Liabunya: All set for Malawi@50 celebrations
Lawi born Francis Phiri: To perform in US at Malawi party..'Amaona Kuchedwa'
Lawi born Francis Phiri: To perform in US at Malawi party..’Amaona Kuchedwa’

Of course Malawians from all other states in America will push the boat out and venerate Malawi’s 50 years of independence birthday.

According to one of the organisers’ committee member of the three day Independence commemoration galore in the US, Isabel Napho Liabunya, Malawians will host activities under the theme ‘Malawi Golden Jubilee: Yesterday, today and tomorrow’ which will include live musical acts US based Malawian reggae outfit, Indika, and guests from Malawi.

Malawi’s invigorating and soulful Afro pop songster sensation, Francis Phiri but trending as Lawi in his music game and Malawi’s RnB crooner, silky-smooth voiced soloist, Maskal whose real name is Masiye Kansalu will entertain the audience with their scintillating music while Malawian top fashion designers Lilly Alfonso, Mwai Namaona of Nzika wear and Lillian Koreia of Mizu fashion line will showcase their works of art at a fashion show.

The country’s three top designers will parade their traditional clothing contours and fashion outfits during the celebrations at a fashion show and aim at promoting Malawian and culture through their impeccable designs which purely and proudly Malawian.

Lilly Alfonso is no stranger to international stardom, last year she was among top fashion designers showcasing their trendy aptitude to the world at the London African Fashion week, an event which attracted top designers from across the continent.

“We have roped in some top-seeded talent from the Warm heart of Africa, Malawi to join us in celebrating the 50thIndependence anniversary.  It will be exciting and exhilarating as we have lined up various activities to mark this landmark occasion,” said Philadelphia based Liabunya.

Liabunya disclosed to Nyasa Times in a telephone interview that The Malawi-Maryland Independence celebrations will kick-start Friday morning at 9:00 am prompt with an exclusive screening of the award winning Malawian movie, directed and produced by Shemu Joya, The last Fishing Boat and then a discussion forum at 12:15 pm followed by the day’s main event, a sumptuous Dinner and Dance and a Fashion Show at 5:30 pm all to held at Filmore, Silver Spring Maryland.

‘Merry Making’

On Saturday, the Malawi at 50 independence US will reach the pinnacle with the long-drawn-out fun-fare continuing with a Family Picnic and Braii from 10:00 hours in the morning at Valley Mill Special Park with a banquet of a music extravaganza concert featuring US based Malawian reggae band, Indika band plus guest artists and Malawi’s hugely talented music maestro and man of the moment, Lawi of the ‘Amaona Kuchedwa’ fame and of course the Zilindiwe hit maker-maker, Maskal.

She said: “Music is a key component to the good life in time of happiness and celebrations, and more importantly, it adds candour and splendour to merry-making.”

Liabunya explained that music is there to be enjoyed, listened to and danced to for it does not only please the ears but also soothes the heart and careless and massages the body, mind and the soul.

“Music is the food not only of love; it is the fuel and bloodline to humanity. It twinkles and winks at nightfall and dazzles the mind all day, every day and that is why we had to make sure that we bring from home the best crop of music talent to ensure that Malawians are closer to home in this period,” she quipped.

Music is a therapy and a feasible psychoanalysis for people feeling nostalgic and listening to home music after a long time away from is not only mesmeric but a antidote for an aura to being home and what a better way in getting into the mood and spirit for celebrating 50 years of independence than to date two of Malawi’s most celebrated music linchpins, Lawi and Maskal.

Most mere mortals will find it ‘red-and-blue’ and complicated to understand and fully grasp Lawi’s music genre, and like Wambali Mkandawire before him, his music arrangement and range is rather sophisticated and chic for a simple mind, one need consciousness to grapple and grip some of his tunes such as The whistling song and as for Maskal one needs a poetic mind to fully understand the rhyming lines in his Intelligently weaved lyrics.

Liabunya promises nothing but the best experience during this celebratory period saying it is a proud moment for every Malawian regardless of where he or she is.

“It’s a truly surreal experience to be 50 years old as a sovereign state; of course there is a lot we need to do as a country but looking back at the last 50 years, we can learn a lot from what we have achieved. Most of all, we have to thank God that in the last five decades we have been a peaceful country and that is something worth celebrating about,” said Liabunya.

In another Interview with Nyasa Times on arrival in the US Lawi said he is looking forward to giving out his best to Malawians in the US during the visit.

“To say that we are happy to be here is an understatement. We are more that honoured and we feel so humbled to be invited to be among our fellow countrymen and women as our country celebrates 50 years of independence. We are more than ready to give out our best and represent our beautiful country in the US,” said Lawi.

‘Malawian Dream’

On his part Maskal who recently toured UK for a string of solo music shows, he described the trip to the US as a dream come true and will do anything within his abilities and capabilities to give the music lovers in the US his best performance.

“We will give out our best. We want to make the shows a memorable time for everybody. We would love to give them sweet memories of mother Malawi. All and above, we are happy that we are here in the US,” said the Udalire vocalist.

He added: “We are living the dream, a dream I thought to be impossible. It is by God’s grace for a Malawian artist to visit both sides of the Atlantic in a space of within twelve months. Not so long ago, I was in Ireland then in the UK and now I am in the US, it shows God is on my side and that people love what I do. I will continue working hard. I thank my fans for without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

July 4th is USA’s Independence Day when Americans commemorate the signing and adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, which gave the colonies independence from Great Britain. It is a federal holiday and Americans typically celebrate: fireworks, barbeques, and parades are common throughout the United States.

Although many Americans skip town for the Fourth of July, Malawians seems to be ready to host a truly impressive 50thIndependence celebrations in their own way other than the national fun fare traditionally marked by fireworks, as well as a number of other events to commemorate the holiday.

On 4th of July Fireworks display is the largest in the United States and each year they deliver a truly spectacular display of fireworks but this year it will only drive Malawians in the US into the mood to celebrate their own country’s independence.

Malawi, a landlocked country got independence on July 6th 1964 after the country’s founding father and first president Ngwazi Dr.  Hastings kamuzu Banda broke the ‘stupid federation of Nyasaland and Rhodesia and the southern African state became a republic on July 6 1966.

While the Americans are living the American dream on July 4th as they commemorate their independence and so are Malawians the world over, they are living the dream, they are free although still economically colonised, but for 50 years their country is as peaceful as doves – and Malawians are living the dream of its founding fathers – to have peace that is like glass of ice-cold water on a hot summer day – or it is the peace that is like a warm blanket on a cold winter day?

Which ever way, Malawi is one of the peaceful and safest places in the world, and for that we thank God, peace is a rare commodity and as we celebrate our 50 years years of independence, we need to pray to God so we can embrace this peace forever,” stated Liabunya.

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