Canada through the eyes of an immigrant

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Biriwiri:Music Geniuses from Malawi -Part 1

For the last 2 weeks, The Editors of Mmalawi Blog were working on a new website that will be soon available to our readers.
Here is an interview with the Malawian Hip Hop duo Biriwiri; Malawi's music geniuses.

Following is the first Part of the Interview:

Mmalawi Blog: Could you tell us when you got into the music scene and why?
Kabuzi: We had been rapping since we were young. But we formed Biriwiri in 2003 whilst we were in college. After making observations and self-analysis we believed we had the potential to contribute immensely to Malawian hip hop. We felt this was a calling we couldn’t refuse. We saw that our passion for rap could match the challenge ahead of us. From that moment we have never looked back.

Mmalawi Blog: Why the name BIRIWIRI? Any hidden meaning?

Zizwa: When we decided to form the group we stayed for some weeks before coming out to the public during which time, among other things, we were deciding on the name. We wanted something melodic to show our attention to lyrical finesse but also which reflects the values behind our music. So that’s how we got to call ourselves Biriwiri. Biriwiri means ‘greenness’ and it reflects the positivity that our music intends to inspire. As you know the color green brings many positive thoughts. We can cite so many examples. It is deliberately vernacular to show pride in our local language.

Mmalawi Blog: For each one of you what is the greatest love of your lives?
Kabuzi& Zizwa: For both of us our greatest love is music.

Mmalawi Blog:Whose footsteps do you follow?

Zizwa: We cant mention a specific individual, but we follow men and women who set out their goals and pursue them relentlessly. We follow that principle.

Mmalawi Blog: Any Malawian artist(s) you respect?

Kabuzi: Malawi has had many talented artists but our special respects go out to Wambali and Lucius Banda for their many achievements and wide adoration they have received. We also respect Allan Namoko, Michael Yekha and Stonard Lungu for their legendary traditional music they left. We feel blessed to have worked with Stonard before he passed on. May his soul rest in peace.

Mmalawi Blog: Tell us about your biggest inspiration, and (or) Malawian hero?

Zizwa: Our biggest inspiration is Jesus Christ.

Kabuzi:For both of us, John Chilembwe is Our Malawian hero

Watch the Malawi made music video by Biriwiri

Mmalawi Blog

Monday, February 2, 2009

Most Popular in Malawi:Madonna's David Banda,Lucius Banda,Kamuzu Banda

The name Banda in Malawi is as popular as the name Patel in India, and as popular as the name Smith in the USA.
A poll conducted with a sample of the Malawian population has shown that Kamuzu Banda the Malawian first President, Lucius Banda a local musician, and Madonna's adopted son; David Banda are among the most popular and powerful Malawians of the past year. The poll which was conducted by email sampled Malawians in the country as well as in the diaspora. Kamuzu Banda's name came back to the political conversation when the current Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika urged his fellow Malawians to stop demonizing Banda but instead give him his alledged due respect. The Lilongwe Central hospital and the Airport were both renamed to honor Malawi's ngwazi; Kamuzu Banda.
David Banda was recognised as the 8th popular celebrity child in the world in 2008 by Forbes Magazine.The list of celebrity toddlers was led by Tom Cruise's daughter Suri, who was followed by other kids like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's Zahara and Cruz Beckham; the son of David and Victoria Beckham. With the ongoing divorce, hookups and relationships of Madonna, the media has fixed its attention on the family of the Queen of Pop and the little Malawian survivor David Banda.
Lucius Banda is Malawian politician and musician who has been openly opposed to the current Malawian government. In the upcoming elections; Sunganani Banda; Lucius Banda's wife will be a candidate for the United Democratic Front (UDF) led by Dr. Bakili Muluzi.
The top 10 names in the list of Powerful Malawians of 2008:
1. Kamuzu Banda
2. Bingu wa Mutharika
3. John Chilembwe
4. Bakili Muluzi
5. David Banda
6. David Rubadiri
7. Lucius Banda
8. H. Chimunthu Banda
9. Nicholas Dausi
10. John Lwanda


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Churches are Spreading HIV/AIDS in Malawi

The cartoon by the late Vic Kasinja poignantly points out the problem in many Malawian churches: A church member confesses publicly her sin, which happens to be having sexual relations with both the pastor and the deacon. In many Malawian churches, the pastor basically owns the church, meaning that he can do what he wants to anyone he wants. As many Malawian women are very obedient and submissive because of their culture, they usually give in to the pastor's demands after little resistance. The majority of the Malawian population is Christian and therefore belongs to a church. AIDS is very rampant in Malawian villages and one of the major reason behind is the much condemned adultery taking place in the Malawian churches. Many Malawians view sex as recreation only and they usually look at the present pleasure and not the consequences. Malawian men view beautiful girls as objects that they must get, just like a Mercedes at a car dealer or a TV at an electronic store. It is not surprising that Malawi reggae musician Evison Matafale sung Poison is Sweet, A song about appearances that can deceive; "The poison is so sweet that is why it is killing many"
It seems that many men are never satisfied with their wives in Malawi so they go to the other woman who is more beautiful (on the outisde) than their wives at home. Many pastors do condemn adultery and fornication on the podium, but they only wait for the evening to actually practice what they condemned during daytime.
Actions speak louder than words, and conduct teaches better than admonitions. Young Malawians follow the steps of their parents especially when they are involved in church choirs after school. It is common knowledge that these choirs are mainly used for matchmaking purposes where relationships are formed and in doing so,HIV/AIDS is 'propagated' and Bible principles are broken.

Beauty blinds many, especially those with power. Pastors, choirmasters or deacons in rural areas usually take for themselves the girls that they want and desire. Sadly many girls in Malawi do not have a say in their own future, because the male figure always decides. It is normal in Malawi to see a girl finish high school with 1 or 2 children while still unmarried. The irresponsible father in such cases is usually dead (from AIDS) or is with another woman, therefore infecting or getting infected. Because of poverty, many Malawian husbands leave for few days to look for money in order to feed their own family, and while they are gone their wives become sexual toys for other men in the village. In many cases, the husband actually goes on what is commonly referred as "women hunting" (kusaka in chichewa).
Sadly, when a known HIV/AIDS victim die, the church usually refuse to officiate the burial ceremony allegedly because they do not want to have any part in sin. This also happen when the family of the victim cannot pay for the church's services. Generally, this is pure hypocrisy because some church members also had sexual relations with the victim.

14% of the 11 millions Malawians are HIV positive.

This article was written by Tsala Kamwendo, doing a Women Studies Degree at McGill University(Montreal) in Canada.

Mmalawi Blog