By Zakale Botomani
The Malawi gospel fraternity has learned with shock the passing of sensational gospel musician George Mkandawire. Early on Wednesday , social media was awash with news of the singers passing, a story that was quickly confirmed by his close family members.
According to the available information George Mkandawire was residing in Zambia and that is where he has died . Details Surrounding his death are still sketchy.
His younger brother Charles Mkandawire, who is based in Cape Town, South Africa, said as a family they are shocked to hear of George’s passing.He said the singer didn’t indicate in any way that he was sick. “This is sudden death and is shocking, ” he said.
Mkandawire said details about the burial arrangements will be communicated in due course but indicated that vigil will be held in Ndirande, Blantyre where George’s parents stay.
George burst onto the gospel scene close to two decades ago when he released his smash hit album “Nkhampenjanga” . Described as arguably the best vocalist to hit the gospel scene, Mkandawire produced a string of hits and established himself as one of the gospel giants . George, who was born in 1974, hailed from Nkombezi village in Rumphi district.
After spending some time in the United Kingdom, the singer returned to Malawi where he continues with his music exploits . Rumours of some scandals involving the singers personal life threatened to derail his career. He went into hibernation and is reported that it is during this time that he left Malawi to live in Zambia.
Mkandawire resurfaced last year with news that he had signed for Major 1 Records which is owned by Prophet Shephard Bushiri.
Several high profile people have paid tribute to the fallen star. Reggae Singer Limbani Banda Dube wrote “The only artist I have fought with … But in the end we became best friends … I could follow him where ever he was… He could make sure I Know where he is ! We did together a track called mwandikondera 2008… The Great George … We spoke some weeks ago ….and you lied to me that you are coming this december… Was that a gudbye? George my dear “. Former Musicians Union of Malawi (Mum) president, Chimwemwe Mhango, also said he was shocked by Mkandawire’s death, saying they were about to do a project together.
Veteran gospel singer Wycliffe Chimwendo wrote “He was naturally a good singer with that sweet and captivating voice. Death has robbed us a talent. It has stolen a Gem that made Malawian gospel music good ” . Malawi Congress Party Diaspora leader Chalo Mvula also paid his tribute describing George as a talented humble soul ” We lived together in Manchester and went to the same church, he was a genuinely nice, extremely talented and humble ” said Mvula.