Charles Muyamwa: Death of a genius
Published On January 30, 2014 » 3481 Views» By Diran Chama » Features
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• Mr Muyamwa in the studio doing what he loved best.

• Mr Muyamwa in the studio doing what he loved best.


A Dark cloud hangs over Zambia, as this country once again mourns the passing on of a broadcaster, musician and art lover in the name of Charles Muyamwa.
He was born on January 1, 1945 in what was then Barotseland now Western Province.
The late Muyamwa’s passion for music started when he was still in school where he played for the school bands. He always loved to play music, especially instrumental music. Mr Muyamwa also was a collector of jazz and classical music.
He was a British trained Broadcaster who worked at the then Zambia Broadcasting Services (ZBS) Radio Station now Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation. The young handsome man joined ZBS in 1965. His baritone voice soon became popular on both radio and TV.
Apart from reading the news bulletins, Mr Muyamwa loved to play the guitar. He quickly joined hands with a fellow Kaonde section broadcaster Emmanuel Mulemena, took advantage of the recording facilities at ZBS and recorded a number of hit songs.
It was during this time at ZBS that Mr Muyamwa’s name established himself as a serious TV and Radio broadcaster who competed with the likes of deep voiced Rein Miles, David Carpenter and a chain of other British trained broadcasters at ZBS.
In his spare time the late Charles Muyamwa played his guitar, trumpet and saxophone he studied music theory with the British Board of Royal Schools of Music by correspondence.
Mr Muyamwa made several audio and video recordings of his compositions and adapted Zambian traditional songs which he transformed into contemporary danceable tunes.
I first met the late Mr Muyamwa in 1966 when I used to go to ZBS to take part in a children’s programme for the Kaonde section called Kanjongobwele with another Kaonde section broadcaster in the name of Tasker Mulayantanda.
The tall slim Charles Muyamwa also “dressed to kill” in suits or casual. The late Emmanuel Mulemena once told me, “This young man is not just handsome, plays good music and above all knows how match his gear, from the colour of shoes, his belt, its is just incredible,” said Mulemena.
In those good old days, the television was still in black and white, however, the style of reading the news was fantastic.
Mr Muyamwa and his collegues at ZBS were excellent speakers of the Queen’s language and were proud of their jobs.
After he left the world of broadcasting, he started his own musical shop along the Cairo Road, where he specialised in selling musical instruments.
Mr Muyamwa continued to play saxophone, trumpet and guitar.
He was once quoted by the British press in 2008 as one of the best Saxophonist in Zambia.
The chairman of the National Arts Council of Zambia, Mulenga Kapwepwe described the passing on of Mr Muyamwa as a great loss to the nation.
She said: “Charles Muyamwa was an accomplished musician, a great composer of music and above all he opened an outlet in town to sell musical equipment to other musicians.
He is a big loss to the nation.”
And veteran Zambian journalist, Nalishebo Mundia remembered the late Mr Muyamwa as a perfectionist.
“He was a great musician who was a perfectionist when it came to television productions and popularised indigenous music”.
Mr Muyamwa was also a lover of visual art and attended many art exhibitions in Lusaka.
The Director of the Arts at the Ministry of Tourism, Victor Makashi said that when he joined the National Arts Council, he worked very well with the late Mr Muyamwa who was at one time the chairman of the panel of adjudicators for the Ngoma National awards.
“He was a versatile musician, a great performer who loved tradional Zambian music through and through.
Charles was a great artist; he is a great loss to the nation,” said Makashi.
“I met Charles Muyamwa several times at his shop the Art Mart and he was a guy of big sense of humour, he loved to be Lozi and many a times, as traditional cousins, we joked and shared a lot of serious issues pertaining to the development of the arts in Zambia.”
And apart from being a great musician, Mr Muyamwa was also a brilliant writer, a columnist, a serious art critic, a family man.
Zambia shall greatly miss the humble barritoned, ever smiling Charles Muyama.
• Roy Kausa is a critic/writer, Art Curator and
CNN I reporter on art and culture . Cell: 0962004759

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