Malawians in the United Kingdom joined mainly by South Africa, Ugandans, Kenyan and other Sub-Saharan Africa trekked to the Olympic Park for a mesmerising memory lane with “Princesses of Africa” music Yvonne Chaka Chaka and comedian Anne Kansiime.
Though the massive hall at Copper Box Arena did not fill up, those that attended did not regret the Grajoh Entertainment annual show dubbed AfrikaFest, whose co-partner is Malawian Grace Ntolela-Mujungu, who earlier in the year brought Malawian artists Lulu, Skeffa and Dan Lu to the UK. Her partner Johnson Mujungu is a manager if Kansiime.
“This has been one of the marvellous show, the combination of Yvonne and Annie meant there was no boring moment. They are great African princesses in their own right,” complimented Ndaona a Malawian from Hertfordshire.
The show started with a DJ Giddie dishing continental music which included South Arican, Zambian and Nigerian hits before the Zimbabwean accented MC did a roll call for African nations in the House with a resounding “yes” for Malawians of all ages, including elderly women who grew up in the era of Chaka Chaka, Thandeka of PJ Powers, late Brenda Fassie and late Mirriam Makeba ruled African airwaves.
The show was at peak when Anne Kansiime came, entering with the one time music anthem ‘1er Gao’- to which the patrons rolled with approval cheering.
She took time to thank white patrons, calling them “guest of honours” anywhere where Africans gather. She cracked, “Even a white man walking somewhere once he comes near a meeting he has no idea of, they become guests of honours.”
The Ugandan comedy Queen who is a hit in Malawi where she has travelled twice so far, also aimed at women for having “fake” everything from eye lashes to behinds.
Then it was music time, and Princess of Africa at 51 did not disappoint.
Chaka Chaka, who has had a stellar two-decade career starring in shows around the world and with hits such as “I’m Burning Up” performed with a live band that included the hefty South African women and professional touch,
Chaka Chaka opened the night performance by singing within the audience. She ordered all gates opened to break the barrier between VIP and all other guests.
“I am the boss now, open the gates lets all sit together,” she ordered.
Then it was sing along, her decades long hits found resonance in the audience as she sang Freedom, Thank You Mr Deejay, I am burning up and a tribute to Nelson Mandela, audience kept singing and demanding more.
She briefly did honour her late rival and compatriot Brenda Fassie by doing her Weekend Special which saw audience demand more.
The Copper Box Arena at the Olympic Park noise went higher when she sang the famous “Umqomboti” which saw every man, woman and kids in the hall dance, shake and mimic the drinking of African beer- famously known as masese in Malawi.
The best sum of the night from a Malawian was Emmanuel from New Maalden, “Izi ndiye zinali bwino.” Not too much, but a perfect night in London where African entertainment is rare!
Ishmael Kaonga from Bedford remarked: “Perfect entertainment.”
While Nick Thawe from Peterbrough said: “This show was value for money.”
In an interview later, Mujungu of Grajoh thanked people who supported him by attending the show, saying his firm will stribe to give the best.
Credit: Nyasa Times