Macdonald Mlaka Maliro built his fame from secular music. He later became a Born Again and started singing gospel music. Now, he is an evangelist at Cross Life Church. Nation on Sunday talks to him on his calling.
Tell me more about yourself
I come from Monkey Bay in Mangochi district, but I reside in Blantyre. People know me as a musician with popular music albums such as Dzanja Lalemba and Maloto. Now, I am an evangelist although I am still a gospel musician. You can also call me a pastor. I am married to Bernadetta and we have children.
What made you become a pastor?
I became a pastor in 2011. God used my son for me to receive Jesus Christ. My son had fire burn wounds. When we took him to Mwaiwathu Private Hospital in Blantyre, we were told he was supposed to be sent to South Africa for proper medical treatment. I discovered that the medical bill in South Africa would be K6 million, which was beyond what we could afford.
Later, I met Prophet Brenda Mpasu who told me that God wanted to use my son to let me repent and serve Him. I disregarded Mpasu’s words. Surprisingly, when I later met Prophet Sheppard Bushiri, he said to me what exactly Mpasu had said. I knew God had something for me. I was afraid.
In the same year I received Jesus, but I was still playing secular music, and it was in 2012 when I shifted to gospel music. Then, I started attending Cross Life Church where Bishop Isaac Chitakata asked me to start evangelising. I preach and invite gospel musicians to perform at the church every Friday. I also preach during the main service on Sundays.
What exactly do you want to achieve as a pastor?
What I want is to see people receive Jesus. I already have a house, a beautiful wife, children and fame; and what I want now is to take part in changing people’s lives spiritually.
What exactly has changed in you?
I used to drink beer, smoke and fight with people. I was doing many bad things, but now I am a changed person. Now, I tell people that drinking beer, smoking and fighting is not good and God is always angry with such behaviours.
All your songs contain biblical stories, what has changed by becoming a gospel musician?
Sometimes I refuse to be called a secular musician. I was a gospel musician in secular world. I used to sing gospel music in wrong places such as drinking joints.
So are people in pubs not supposed to hear the gospel?
Of course, imbibers listen and dance to gospel music, but it is difficult for them to get the message and chances are that they can repent are low. People at the pub are different from those in buses or at the market. Drunkards cannot easily grab the message in the preaching. It is easy to preach to passengers in a bus or people at the market because they are sober.
Why do gospel musicians often perform in cities?
That is true. The problem is lack of proper venues in the districts. Most of the venues are drinking joints. However, I am planning to start touring rural areas with live performances. I will start once I have identified proper venues, not pubs. The live performances will spice up my evangelism.
What challenges do you face as a pastor?
There are a lot of challenges. When I became a pastor people laughed at me, saying I had run out of ideas. Others said I was sick; hence, I wanted to hide behind the church and evangelism.
What became of Maloto Vibrations, which you once owned?
It is still there. However, I only take few members to perform with me as a gospel musician. The problem is that there is a difference between secular music and gospel music live performances. In secular music, you can perform everyday while in gospel music that is not the case. Most of the gospel shows take place either on Saturdays or Sundays, therefore, I cannot sustain all the members of Maloto Vibrations.
How do you earn a living now?
I own a number of businesses, which my wife operates on my behalf as I am busy with evangelism. Evangelism is now my full-time occupation.
You pray for sick people who come to your church. Why don’t you go to pray for patients in hospitals?
There is a saying that ‘charity begins at home’. Therefore, as a pastor I have started with people who come to my church. Of course, recently we started going out to reach to people in hospitals as well.
Special message to our readers?
People should accept that I am a changed person. The past belongs to the past.