Malawi Mourns again as Musician Lucius Banda dies

By Chisomo Phiri

Veteran musician and Presidential Advisor on Arts Lucius Banda has died.

One of his friends, Felix Washon has confirmed to MBC Digital saying he had spoken to Banda’s son.

Reports indicate that Banda was admitted at a hospital in South Africa after he was diagnosed with kidney failure.

Lucius Banda was born on 17 August 1970 in Sosola Village in Group Village headman Kapalamula, Traditional Authority(T/A) Nsamala in Balaka District.

Lucius Banda

His music career started in 1983 when he was 13 years old when he started singing with his brother Paul Banda and leader of Alleluya Band.

He first appeared on stage in 1985 with his brother’s led Alleluya Band.

Banda started his music career while in elementary school at Mponda Full Primary School.

To further his music career, Lucius Banda decided to go to music school in South Africa.

This dream was fulfilled in 1993 when he joined Dorkey house in Johannesburg, where he spent one full year studying music.

He recorded his first album titled ‘Son of a Poor Man’ at shandel music studio with the help of producer George Arigone (an Argentinian) on backing vocals.

He had Nomhlanlha nkhize and the now famous gospel singer Debora Freser.

His album became popular because of hits like Mabala, get up stand, Linda and Life On Earth.

From there he launched his long career of music.

In 1997, Lucius Banda formed his own band, Zembani after recording his fourth album (Take Over) with the intention to help local and up keeping musicians in Malawi.

Meanwhile, many artists in Malawi were promoted through the auspices of his Zembani Music Band.

Zembani Band grew into one of the most celebrated music groups across Africa.

Banda’s music was loved by millions in Africa.

He was well known as the voice of the poor and those who can not be heard.

His music depicts the social, economic and cultural constraints faced by ordinary Malawians.

He had also been a voice against social injustices and inequalities prevalent among African leaders and politicians.

He was controversial to Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda’s regime.

He was the first Malawian musician to sing openly against political oppression in Malawi during the decades of one-party rule.

Lucius had been host to many popular musicians, helping to begin the careers of Mlaka Maliro, Paul Chaphuka, Billy Kaunda, Cosi Chiwalo, Wendy Harawa, Emma Masauko, Enort Mbandambanda and Charles Nsaku.

He had experienced the hardest of times as a musician as his music had either been banned, censored and sometimes denied venues and segregated against by government.

In 2010, he released another album, 15-15- my song, which was banned by the state broadcaster, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC).

In June 2010, Banda and other musicians from Malawi were invited to play in Germany.

Their venue in Cologne was the key point for an upcoming 2011 Lucius Banda Europe tour.

His travelling to Germany attracted a lot of public and political interest in Malawi.

He released ‘Thank you’ album in 2015.