What if Evison Matafale comes back to life?

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Evison Matafale died in mysterious circumstances in November 2001 when he was under the Police custody. The two reggae albums he had released before his death, Kuimba One and Two, in 1999 and 2001, respectively, completely changed the landscape of reggae music in Malawi, for better. They also confirmed Singano Village in Chileka, Blantyre, as the home of some legendary musicians to have ever graced the Malawi stage.

There was so much before him. His death took from Malawi one of the greatest voices it ever had. Matafale exhibited a special fearless character. He was a man full of opinions on politics and religion, for example. In fact, the reason that got him arrested by the Police was his 2001 open letter that criticized the Malawi political system and the failure of President Muluzi and his government.

That is the kind of man who appears in his music as well. He was a conscious human being and used his music to create something good out of the society. Kuimba One and Two were the first of its kind in Malawi and they instantly crowned him the king of reggae music in Malawi, a title he still posthumously hold.

Evison Matafale

Evison Matafale what if he returns?

It is half a generation now since his death. Besides leaving songs that are still relevant till this day, the Black Missionaries band, the group he formed months before his death, remains one of his strongest and enduring legacies. As he was about to record his sophomore, he asked his Fumulani and Chokani cousins to form a band and back him up in the studio. He named it the Black Missionaries.

He died just months before some of the cousins had just made their first appearance on the music stage. They faced the challenge of carrying on what had been bestowed upon them; reggae music, the Black Missionaries band, Singano village, and more importantly, the voice of justice and freedom.

It was easy to not give them the chance of keeping the mission on. But while still enjoying the grace of people for Matafale, in 2003, they continued the Kuimba series with a third one. A skeptic view may suggest that for the love of Matafale, people bought and listened to the work. But when one critically listens to the album, it suggests otherwise. The little boys Matafale had recruited had fast matured into men and did all they could to fill the void.

It gave rise to the names of Anjiru and Musamude Fumulani as some of the best vocalists in Malawi music and Peter Amidu as a celebrated bass guitar player in Malawi. People fell in love with the coarse voice of Musamude and as more music kept coming from the band, some started to even suggest that he was better than his mentor, Matafale.

But after the third Kuimba project, the coming of Kuimba Four acted like a transition period for the band. While they had lived to the expectations of people in Kuimba Three, Kuimba Four was the beginning of their own journey and legacy. Some have suggested that the success of the band’s music was the lack of competition in Malawi. By then, Balaka reggae, although fading, was still the dominant type of reggae music in Malawi.

The Black Missionaries were playing their own kind of reggae music, hence the success. If that was true, the coming of Gift Fumulani, their other cousin, as solo artist, broke their monopoly and provided the people some comparison. It is said that the band itself took note of his coming and dominance. The song ‘Unali Wabwino’ in Kuimba Four is rumored to be a critique on Gift’s choice to be a solo artist.

Black Missionaries

Black Missionaries:a novelty of Matafale.

Only them know the truth behind the song. But both the band and Gift continued to flourish in their careers until the latter’s death in 2008. This was the year the band released their eighth Kuimba album, meaning that they had done six since the death of Matafale. The album was also the beginning of yet another journey for the band: Musamude, their band leader and lead vocalist, had died a year before.

The death of Matafale forced them to grow into men. But the death of Musamude threatened to force them out of music. In 2003 they enjoyed the people’s grace for Matafale, but that was not the same with Musamude. There was nothing like the people’s grace for Musamude. Between 2003 and 2008, the band had suffered criticism of playing similar kind of music and diluted message, unlike that of Matafale. If it was to fall, there was nothing much to lose.

The death of Musamude left Anjiru as both the band leader and the only lead vocalist. The criticism of playing the same kind of music became even real and intense after this. The whole album having the voice of Anjiru made the songs to be monotonous. Unlike Musamude, who had a great ability in varying his voice and leading English songs, Anjiru is an equilibrium singer and has difficulties in leading English songs. This was the new reality.

How did they fare? The Black Missionaries band is one of the most complex groups that have ever graced Malawi music. The criticism that it is doing diluted music has worked to its advantage when most people expected to be the reason for its downfall. Times have changed, and again, Matafale was himself. Expecting the Black Missionaries to have the Matafale message of 2001 in a 2016 world is unrealistic. Even Lucius Banda was forced to abandon his trademark Balaka reggae beat to a diluted sound that was mostly characterized of love songs.

It is true that the reggae being played by the Black Missionaries is nothing close to what Matafale used to, and so is the message. But when one is looking at the band, there is more that has to be thought of apart from this. They were not the only ones who tried to carry on the legacy. Matafale’s own half-brother, Toza Kapito, tried to keep on the name of his relative, but did not make it.

For the Black Missionaries band, in 2016, fifteen years after the death of Matafale, remaining the most sought after performers is an achievement that even Matafale can still be surprised of. If he comes back to life and get to know the death of Musamude, the international tours the band has had and the success of their music, he will be a proud man. They may not be playing to the expectations of many people now, but the amazing part of their story comes when one thinks of the shoes they had to fill, and how they made it possible.

About the writer: Wonderful Mkhutche is a speech writer, a political scientist and a manuscript editor and developer.

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278 Comments

  1. Ndimamvera reggae music ngakhale za ma Blacks amene bt Matafale was king of reggae here in MW coz till now palibe yemwe amayimba ngat momwe amayimbira munthu ameneyu

  2. Dikilani judgment day chiweluzo chili paziko lapasi popano.Olenga zuwa ndyemwe tikumudikila.Afumu oziwakuiimba palibeso,and sazapezekaso.

  3. Musandikumbuse inu kale.mkulu uyu anali ndi luso lopeka nyimbo komanso luso loimba nyimbo, monga Olenga Dzuwa,timba,poison islike asweet.time mark.nkhope.ayi ndi zabwino sizikhalisa

  4. Since he was gone I hv never listen any Malawian Reggie music again anymo. Let’s agree the fact that, no 1,can & w’ll never reach his level in Malawi.
    HE was a founder the first & last Rastafarian of RAGGEA MUSIC in our soil. I alz miss u, wn I want to listen music…….RIP..Mfumu.

  5. I have always thought of taking someone for him in the current erra but there is none amongst the musicians in the reggae tunes thats could Match.

    He wa indeed the king of Reggae!

  6. adapindulanji muluzi apa? kungotichotsera chaulere koma chodula kuchikera kwa yahwe. great man matafale. sadzapezekaso. i wish mulizi dies today. kodi tidanilananji?

  7. Never will this happen to see the dead rising to life before the return of Christ Jesus. However, we appreciate his legacy in music circles

  8. Big up 2 Evilson Matafale for creating foundation for the reggae giants Mablacks….Without your support this group would have been meaning less

  9. Adaferanji Matafare?? pano anthu akusowa ko kaphuzira nyimbo monga Joe Gwaladi & Ras Dema sakadamaimba nyimbo zosavekaz akadawaphuzitsa ngati munthu wa lunso.May His Soul Rest In Peace.

  10. Life is after death no ma tter want. Pepani nafe tiponyeko mbwelera zathu ngakhale ena simukondwela nazo. Matafale sanachite kuphedwa ndi munthu kapena apolice mmene timaganizila anthu. Matafale anafa kamba kobanika chifukwa cell imene anamuyika inali itazaza nde anali ndivuto lobanika. Kamba kot anali akudwala tb nde anachedwa naye kupita naye kuchipatala. Ngat makumbukira bwino zinazavekaso kut wamwalira thawi inayake atadwala kwambili. Atadzatuluka ndi pamene amadzatulutsa kuyimba 2. China chomwe chinampangitsaso kut azivutika kumbanika. Atatuluka kuchipatala anasiya kumwa mankhwala monga mudziwa azathu achirastarwa zachizungu ndi dani. Apolice zinakhuza kamba koti anafela mmanja mwawo komaso analibe pali pose posonyeza kuti wamenyedwa.koma anali akusakidwa ndi boma kamba kazifukwa zingapo ndithu. Mwaziwili mwayizo: 1 analakhura zosakhala bwino pasokhano wa kunzuzu anatengedwa kut akasangalatse anthu kumeneko. Sokhano unali wa UDF .amene anapanga dongosolo kuti akasangalatse anthu ku nzuzu anali ancle ake akapito. Anthuwa anasephana mau kamba kazakudya ndipo matafale anakwiya mpaka sanasangalatseso anthu. Mpaka sokhano unasokonekera.2 analemba kalata yonyoza muluzi ndi anthu ena. Ndiyomwe inapangitsaso udani kwambili mpaka anampitura ku bt town kukamutenga ndi kubwela naye ku LL. Ndipamene athenga osakhala bwino umkaveka kuti matafale watisiya ali mmanja mwa apolice.mutu wakhani ndi oti sanaphedwe ndi munthu ndi thawi inangokwana yake yoti tisiyane naye. Ine munthu ameneyu ndi mamukonda ndipo ndimkasata bwino. Zaka zosezi ine ndimangoti zanga ndiwe. Ukawona dzuwa latuluka komaso ana akusewela chawuta ndi waphabvu.. sizolozana chala apa end kumanchula achawa kapena alomwe. Enanu mukuonetsa kut zithu zimazitsata. Rabson k d banda
    Mulungu azakulangani .musiyileni mulungu azaweluza tsiku likubwela yese ochita nchimo azalandila chikwapu. Tidikile oweluza ife sioweluza .

  11. He was most motivating and inspiring in raggae music and man of Jah in the only warm heart of Africa so called Malawi. May his soul rest in peace indeed

  12. Cant happen ,coz he is dead finish,no chance to come again in lyfy for ur evidence we born to die and so dat we should get paid for our job we did on the earth(u reap wat u sown) even all of us we r going to die very shortly dat z de Must of A££ah ta,allah law dare z no doubt.

  13. That dude was a raggea icon,the father &founder of the black missionaries.he left a legacy that u cant talk about raggea in malawi without hearing the name matafale.he was a legend

  14. Whoever took part to his death,mudzafa imfa yomvetsa chisoni+yowawa.God is still watching u de dogs!why can’t u repeant?Waiting fire?O’my God wat a saint!

  15. Unafa becouse of chilungamo! Olenga dzuwa! Wangokula mutu bt alibe mzelu,angodikira chilango! Police mpana kukusaka mpana loadblock! Inu munalit zwanya,a’mjiba! MHRIP

  16. What if Matafale comes back to life are you serious with your post guys where on earth can one come back to life. If you dont have stories write this one Gabadihno has won another man of the match

  17. poti anati zotsatira za imfa yake zinaturuka koma enafe mpakana pano sitikudziwa kuti adalakwanji kuti amuphe ada aja? freedom freedom freedom every where. Imfa yake munalengeza pa radio mpana mma News nanga zotsatira. ata pang’ono

  18. Bakili muluz….kuchotsa moyo…osalakwa kumvetsa chison ..phavuyo mwaitengakuti ulibe uzimu….This is a lesson why i don’t like muluz and achar u will never get a peace until u die

  19. No winner no loser ws the best, we r chosen,,olakwa ndani? Olakwa ndani?,, olakwa ndan,,? Poison so sweet thats y kills men down. Matafale ws creative indeed,,, Time up newyork!! The reggea master indeed

  20. it can sounds gd bcoz his songs still zikutisangalatsa, a song like chauta ndiwaphavu ad another thing we shuold know is reggae yathafale ndi 1 ad remba reggae is music of love,unity ad peace

  21. Great man.In his arrival in music was King of reggae & after his death we don’t have aking in reggae.True “mulungu ndiwa mphavu amatidzutsa tikagona, KOMASO olenga dzuwa timamuyimbira ambiri.”

  22. Apolice naotso ndi opusa anpetsa munthu oyimba bwino, Nanutso a malawi24 muziona nkhan zolemba osapangisa kuti anthu azigwesa misozi #AMEN

  23. Olakwa ndani dat song blessed me elot umphawi palibe amaugonjetsa kma umagonjetsedwa ndi akufa.may his soul keep on rest in peace jah guide en jah bless.

  24. Imfa ya Matafale imandikhudza mpaka lero, zoyimba zake,zolankhula zake ndizochita zake pakati pa oyimba anzake zimandipatsa chithunzithunzi choti munthu uja analidi mtumiki mwina nchifukwa sanawope imfa. Kalembedwe,kaimbidwe ndi kamvekedwe kake ka nyimbo zake zimapereka chithunzithunzi chinachake. Ichi mwina nchifukwa iye ankati samakhalapansi mkumalemba nyimbo akuti zimangobwera mmutu iye mkumakajambula ku studio. Sindidzamuiwala ndi nyimbo yoti (MALAWI) ndi (CHAUTA NGWA MPAMVU) Mzimu wake uuse muntendere.

  25. mosabisa apa koma ngamo! atadzuka ndikutha kuona ndeu ya fumbi kwambiri ndi ana omwe akudzitcha ma blacks pano ndi band yawo za raggae anasiya kuimba kare kare panopa ndi kwaya basi nyimbo zawo or uthenga oti okoma kumva mulibe mkomwe honesty matafare atadZuka lero ndikoza kuona ma kofi osati masewera mwinanso eish onse kuwathamangitsa ndikufuna ena alowenaye enawa akugulitsa chifukwa cha mbiri ya matafare or aimbe mbora amagulitsabe!

  26. Or kuno tikamavera nyimbo zamatafale kuno cape town amatifusa kt analidi m’malawi uyu amayimba ngati waku Jamaica sitizamupezaso woyimba Reggie pamalawi ngati matafale km bakili mlungu azakuranga muchawa wopusa moyo ngati satana

  27. Ngati analakwisa munthu yimozi ndikuvimereza bt now akanakhala mtundu wina mukananyoza apa km kunena kwa chilungamo bakili analakwisa ndipo zinawonesa umbuli wachawa ndi ufiti km chomwe aziwe muluzi Thawi yizakwana nayeso azamwalira ndikumbukira nthawi yimeneyo anayendesa Galimoto yapolice yomwe anamutenga matafale kunyumba kwake anali asambandele km moyo umene anapanga muchawa bakili azava kuwawa nayeso fiti yachabe

  28. NDAKHALA NDILI MKAFUKUFU OKHUDZA MAYIMBIDWE A MATAFALE KWAZAKA ZIGAPO KOMA NDI MMENE MAYIMBIDWE ALILI PAMALAWI PANO AYI PALIBE NDIPO SADZAPEZEKA OYIMBA GATI MATAFALE GAKHALE MUKUT MA BLACKS AYI PANO AKUYIMBA ZAWO ZAWO ZAMKUTU

  29. Anyone else who plough in the field and look back, he’s useless in the kingdom of God. Lets focus on the future evn now we got good artists that are doing good job that will be told in the future. Matafale is gone for good don’t say If or what.

  30. Rest in peace…..amau akuti asanayambe kutida ifeyo…anayamba kumuda iye mwini mulungu wa moyo….ndichifukwa atifera ife kuti chiomboledwe machimo athu…thas why matafale anafera ife kuti tiziwe chulungamo….mopeza satana amadana ndichulungamo…ndichifukwa anadana ndi matafale…

  31. U know what monga zidayamba kale kuchokela muthawi ya afalisi leloso zili chimodzimodzi lelo kumadana ndichulungamo akhoza kumupha kachikena acoding ndimene zilili pano ngasi akhoza kumatalker ngamo.mzimuwawo uwuse mntendele amatiyimilila

  32. Angafikile kufusa kt ndichifukwa chani munasintha nyimbo zomwe ndinakusiila mablacks nanga musamude ali kt ,iwe Peter kamuitane gift nsanga ana osavera inu and starting rebuilding kuimba 3,4,5,6,7,8,9

  33. I can be proud of him .chifukwa anali munthu wabwino okonda mtendere ,osazikonda ,reggae yake yinali yabwino kwambiri.sitizakuyiwalani mr Matafale..

  34. Likanati lizibwerera,ndikanamupempha Matafale aziyenda mosamala,muliliwu ukhale osavala.ndakuuzanizi zikhale za chinsisi mwina inuyo nkukhala oyamba kusintha zinthu mwazizizi……..rest in peace.

  35. Bakili anapha Matafale ndiumbuli wa chawa chimuthu chinali chakhaza chibakili kopasa bwapini kudula azimayi mawere muthawi ya bakili km umbuli wachawa mlungu akakuweruzani dikilani naweso muluzi umwalira dikira

    • Kulakwa kwamunthu mmodzi sikungapangise mutundu onse wayao kukhala olakwa maganizo oyipa amenewo abanda. Bakili analakwa yekha usiyeni mtundu yachiyao kuwuphatikiza ndi machimo abakili.

    • Comment yakoyo it jst shows tht u ddnt go to xool, ngati ku xool unapitako, koma siunatuluke moenera. Ukadakhara ophunzira ukanadziwa kusiyanitsa munthu ndi ntundu wamunthuyo.

    • Ophunzira sazitamandira, ngati achawa ukuti ndiosaphunzira, koma timathokoza allah chifukwa chotipatsa nzeru kuposa amzathunu ophunzira. Ukafufuza bwino lomwe uzapedza kuti achawawo ndi omwe akutukuka kwambiri. Abt me: ineyo xool yanga ndi ntchito yomwe ndimkaikhumba ndili mwana, ikugwilizana. Ndipo ndichisomo cha mulungu kuti zichitike momwe ine ndimkafunira, umve!! Amzathu ophunziranu zilimbanani ndi uphunzisiwo

    • Ine ndine mtonga koma zosankhana mtundu kuti uyu ndi mchawa uyu ndi mchewa uyu ndimtumbuka zimandibowa kwambiri tonse ndife amalawi. Chosankhirana ndi chiyani kukhala ndizeru ndi talent or mphatso yochokera kwamulungu. Not kuti akuchokela kumtundu wakuti

    • Ameneyo2 anadwalapo misala, tht z y akunyoza ntundu kusiya munthu olakwayo. Iweyonso ukadakhara ophunzira sibwenzi utathawira komwe uliko. Mbuzi ya munthu

  36. Amene Anapanga Zakhazazo Ndi Mbuzi Kmaxo Akanyimbi Ine Ndinkamukonda Mu2 Uyu Kma Ulamuliro Wa Umbuli Ndinkhaza Unamucotsa M’bale Uyu.Akanaika Malawi Pa Map Kma Atombolombo Ena Sindikusamala Kut Ndi Ndan Anapanga Izizi To Hell Ameneo Fwetsekee

  37. Nawe mzungu taona wangozulula kuti satana ndiwe!!
    Wagwetsa maufumu ndiyena onse ndipo wasala wekha!!
    Ukulamulira dziko lapansi ndinkhanza zokhazokha,,,,,koma palibenso chimene uchita ukungotizunza ifeeee!!
    (kunyoza magay ma donors satithandizaa,,,,,zomvetsa chisoni)

    Malawi Malawi,,,,,chenjera posankha posankha malawi mwayi wako utha kukhala nyambo,,,komabe imvaaa ufulu sinsimatu ayiii!!
    Komabe imva mtendere sinsimatu ayii!!

    Pumani mumtendere Mneneri!!

  38. What if Evison Matafale comes back to life??? He will finish his kuyimba 3 album he started with the hit song Time mark New York