Song Review: Zonena Kuchuluka by Lawi

Francis Phiri

Malawi’s multi-talented musician Lawi broke the silence last month with a release labelled Zonena Kuchuluka.

It came at a time when the hunger for his music was intensifying on the part of his fans.

Lawi is back after a 3-4 year hiatus.

With the product yet to clock a month, feedback from the audience has been very energising despite a few naysayers refusing to hold their peace. When all is said and done, Lawi is back after a 3-4 year hiatus.

In Zonena Kuchuluka, he mainly tackles on jealousy and how it has negatively affected humanity.

It is portrayed as a disease that has crippled mankind to the extent of derailing development.

“Zonena nena Kuchuluka mvula ikagwa, zonena nena Kuchuluka mvula ikagwa, inu majelasi lekani (after the rains there is a lot of talk, please do not be jealous),” he sings

“Ubale tinali nawo, timkaukonda koma kaduka anatipasula (we had unity which we loved but envy destroyed it).”

The singer is calling for the lost unity if productivity is to be guaranteed in the society. At the very beginning of the song he asks Malawians to be loving people in the name of national pride.

He goes on to plead with adults to support hardworking children since resources are sustained through such young people.

“Mukaona mwana akuswa mphanje zake, mugulireni Khasu lanyuwani, zomera mmunda siziona otafuna mwina mimba yanu mkuzapulumukira pompo (If you see a young person clearing the land for cultivation, buy him a hoe, farm produce do not choose who should eat them, one day you will survive on the same produce).”

Lawi, real name Francis Phiri, continues with the soul elevating preaching as he condemns envy in strongest terms. He says it destroys instead of building and to make matters worse it is not treatable medically.

This is also in tally with a strong line in the national anthem, “put down each and every enemy, hunger, diseases, envy.”

Zonena Kuchuluka is argued to be a replica of Amona Kuchedwa and Lawi a replica of the late Allan Namoko. His delivery in the two songs is hardly inseparable to Namoko’s work.

In other ways, Zonena Kuchuluka is a classic song in a way that its message is not fixed to a particular historic period but it tackles on issues that have been there, are there and possibly shall always be there.

Phiri once told this publication that his break was not for relaxation but for understanding African culture and how it is embedded in music. Having listened to his silence breaker, one can tell as to how fruitful the break was to the singer.



  1. Lawi, wambali , patience namadingo and pang’ono Lulu the only Malawian musicians that can bring something worth listening to.

  2. Your tracks contain strong and deep message. You embrace our culture and national identity at large! You have got a unique style of spicing up music. I give you more respect!!!

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