Former minister of Health Peter Kumpalume has added a voice to muted calls for government to make technical and vocational training somewhat musical.
The medical doctor is the Member of Parliament for Blantyre West, the cradle of legendary musicians in the ilk of Daniel and Donald Kachamba, Robert Fumulani and Likhubula Band, Fumbi Jazz Band as well as Evison Matafale and Black Missionaries Band.
In his speech during a presidential rally at Chileka on Saturday, he recited a litany of musical greats to have emerged from the airport-side township—requesting President Peter Mutharika to open a music school named after any of the unsung heroes.
Kumpalume envisaged the music school being part of the President’s ambitious project to ensure every district and constituency has a community technical college to uplift the youth and alleviate poverty.
So far, government has opened the colleges in just 15 out of 28 districts, with no clear timelines as to when the skills development programme would trickle down to all 193 constituencies countrywide.
But Kumpalume went ahead of time, saying: “Chileka is the home of talented musicians. Music is what we do best. Elsewhere, babies are born crying. In Blantyre West, we are born singing. When you start opening community colleges at constituency level, please make music part of it because this is what we are good at,” he told a smiling Mutharika.
Kumpalume quipped that he was also a musician, but his attempt at Fumbi Jazz Band’s Tafika sent the crowd into stitches.
The presidential rally took place in Chileka, the backyard of the Black Missionaries Band.
In an interview, the Black’s on-stage leader Anjiru Fumulani welcomed the suggested music training centre as a great way to give aspirant musicians a hand up and to honour unsung heroes who made it to the top without any formal training.
He explained: “This is a great idea because Chileka has produced a lot of self-taught musicians who attained greatness because of inborn talent. Music is in our blood. Even Dr Daniel Kachamba did not have any music training, but a university in Germany gave him a doctorate in recognition of his unique music and guitar skills.
“Opening a music school will preserve the legacy of our great musicians and give the youth, whose future lies in music, a shot at what they want to do in life.”
The Blacks did not perform live at the rally in their backyard, although they graced similar gathering at Lunzu in Blantyre and Nchalo in Chikwawa.