An ode to heroes of Malawi

Kinnah Phiri

We all dream but what follows separate boys from men, girls from women.

Malawi as a country is blessed with distinguishable figures whose efforts in representing the nation at an international level call for more than a standing ovation. In this respect, we pay homage to the sons and daughters of Malawi with remarkable achievements in varying disciplines.


Born Limbani Kalilani, the flamboyant hip hop artist has given Malawi a sweet history to refer to in music circles. Brought up in an urban setting, his bond with local cultural values is far from divorced, his music attests to this. A rapper that has localised the foreign hip hop genre to something called Nyau Music. With his style, the 32-year-old rapper managed to grab international awards making him the sole Malawian urban artist with such honours.

In 2007 the Nyau King received nominations in the continental Channel O Music video awards, in best male, best Southern Africa and best hip hop video categories, with his video for Stand Up. In 2008 his video for 2by2 was nominated in the same awards for best Southern Africa Video and in 2009, his video for Moto received a similar nomination.

It took him collaborating with Namibia’s Gal Level and Zimbabwe’s Buffalo Souljah in a song titled My Type of Guy whose visuals earned them a Channel O award for best group.

In 2014, Grin won a Black Entertainment Film Fashion Television and Arts (BEFFTA) award for Best International African Act. In 2016, he won the BEFFTA Star Award in the music category.

He has performed at the annual Lake of Stars Music Festival. He also won the 2016 WatsUp TV Africa Music Video Awards Best Traditional Video award, with the Video Chipapapa featuring 2baba.

Isaac Chilemba
Isaac Chilemba a hero of his time.


Alias golden boy, Chilemba is Malawi’s gift to the world when it comes to boxing. He impressively represent the nation at global level with his magical punches. So far he has fought 31 great bouts, winning 24, losing 5 and drawing 2. He is a former IBO super-middleweigh­t and WBC International light-heavyweight champion, having also held the ABU titles at both levels. Last year Chilemba was ranked by The Ring magazine as world’s seventh best light-heavyweight. At 29, the golden boy has managed to attract global attention with his achievements, making him one of the heroes in Malawi, no wonder President Peter Mutharika honoured him during launch of the Bingu Stadium in Lilongwe.


Football has Argentina’s Lionel Messi and the Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo, Basketball has America’s Lebron James, Athletics has Jamaica’s Usain Bolt but netball has Malawi’s Mwawi Kumwenda, as the unstoppable. The word netball is a synonym for Mwawi who is currently plying her trade with Australia’s Melbourne Vixens.

The Malawi Queens sharp shooter deserves a statue for her effort in selling the nation through her gifted hands.
Kumwenda was during the 2015 Netball World Cup in Australia decorated with player of the tournament award for being the top goal scorer. She went on to claim the International World Games Association (IWGA) Award as best athlete. The Malawian star is currently on fire in Australia having made a flying start to the netball season. Her country means Flames, what do you expect?


Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to Malawian parents, he is beyond reasonable doubt a master of afro jazz. With not more than 4 albums under his name, Wambali is a man of his own class on the genre, a true legend with a number of international recognitions.

His four albums; Zani Muone, Moto, Liberty and his latest Calabash Breath, encompass a variety of issues. With his songs mainly done in Tumbuka, the response from the public without knowledge of the language is just overwhelming.

The list of international awards won by Wambali include, World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Award for creativity in 2002, Best Artist from Southern Africa for his work Zani Muwone, SAMA Music Award – for Best African Artist in 2003 and BEFFTA Music Award as Best African Legend in 2015

He is the only Malawian musician to have ever filled the Bingu International Convention Centre auditorium to capacity. During the launch for his latest album, people from all walks of life robbed the hall of all its space.

Kinnah Phiri
Kinnah Phiri: One of Malawi’s heroes.


A soccer legend with remarkable contributions both as a player and a coach for the Malawi national football team. As a player he helped the Flames in the early 70s to win two successive CECAFA Cups.

Due to his magic on the field of play, the late Zambian soccer commentator, Denis Liwewe, nicknamed him “electric” for his ability in scoring goals. As a coach for Malawi National Football Team the Flames, he made history by taking the side to its second ever African Cup of Nations in 2010.

His impressive Curriculum Vitae accommodates taking Nyasa Big Bullets, then Bakili Bullets, to CAF Champions League Quarter Finals in 2004, taking the Flames to Angola for their second AFCON appearance, negating the sad tale of South African side, Free State Stars, to a fairy tale in that country’s league in 2008, having taken the club from the jaws of relegation to a stone’s throw away from glory. He also helped Super League side Mzuni FC survive relegation in the 2015 season.

Heroes like these will from now onwards be celebrated in Malawi for their achievements. Gone are the days when our country had unsung heroes.



  1. Kinnah Phiri never played alone during his time. Many Greats were never celebrated & why only now.

  2. THE dick heads coaches you appoint has nothing in mind than spoiling our national team. I have learned to respect kinna and basically he deserve it entirely based on what he has achieved on continental level as far as sports is concern

  3. Maboza nsanje komanso uchitsiru palibe i repeat palibe achina kim ndi ena onse akunja amene anaitengera flames ku afrca cup ngat kinna koma kusafunirana zabwino nde pano ndingomva zofoila makoch konkuno alipo km nsanje

  4. That’s a very good selection,these people are still doing great,indeed gone are the days we mainly recognise politicians,time to change the mindset.

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