Blantyre Based Bangwe CCAP Wonderful Messengers Choir made a surprise appearance during the Chibuku Road to Fame Music Competition by performing at Limbe Lower Tavern last Saturday.

The K12 million competition, which started two years ago, usually attracts secular groups as the regional finals are held in Chibuku Products Limited taverns.

Taverns are considered places where Christians especially those from Church of Central African Presbyterian (CCAP) cannot go as the church’s doctrine does not condone drinking beer although some members drink.

But Musicians Association of Malawi (Mam) Southern Chapter chairman Patrick Simakweli called for both secular and gospel groups to participate in the competition despite taking place in taverns during regional finals.

Simakweli said he was happy that it was the first time that a gospel choir had taken part in the competition. The choir, dressed in their Sunday best uniforms, jumped on stage facing the imbibers and received cheers.

The imbibers waved their Chibuku cheering the group as the group performed two songs. The imbibers were heard saying “we are blessed to have this group because we are regarded as sinners.”

Unfortunately despite impressing during the performance which was spiced-up by dancing, they did not make it although some felt they deserved a place to participate in the national finals.

The Weekend Times investigations found out that the group had used some members who were illegible to participate. But why did the group gather the courage to perform at such an unfriendly environment?

“This was not an unfriendly environment actually as a group we had to convince our church to allow us to participate so as to spread the message. We did not come here only to compete but to reach out to such people, who are in need of the word of God and so the church thought we were in the right direction,” said the groups’ leader Isaac Banda.

He noted that Jesus Christ came for sinners and so they thought it wise to participate in the competition for the first time and hinted that they were not frustrated that they did not make it but rather the audience received the message from the two songs they performed.

The group has also been participating in church competitions and Banda was quick to say that they had also learnt new techniques of facing a different audience.

Many gospel groups have shied away from the competition because it is associated with Chibuku Products and that the regional competitions are held in taverns.

“As Chibuku Products Limited, they also want to market their brand. It’s difficult for gospel groups but it can also be a platform to reach out to different people and I am happy we had the Bangwe group,” said Mam Treasurer Young Chilaga.

He said the performance by the Bangwe group would bring some change as more groups will be encouraged to participate. Last year Chibuku Products Limited said they could not shift the regional competitions.

He also said that this was one way of reaching out to their consumers and provide entertainment as well as market their Chibuku beer.

Bangwe CCAP Wonderful Messengers battled it out with eight groups during the competition. Khalidwe, Dikamawoko and Super Melodies were victorious and will represent the South during the national finals on July 6 at Mzuzu Stadium.

The other groups that participated were Africa Unite Band, Papa Mtume and African Mingoli, Vision Melodies, Mike Lombola and Mimbulu. – By Sam Banda Jnr

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