Thousands of people from all walks of life who included politicians, religious leaders and artists on Saturday graced the funeral of renowned gospel musician Grace Chinga.
Chinga, was pronounced dead upon arrival at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre Wednesday after a short illness. She was buried at HHI Cemetery.
The singer ’s death brought Blantyre to a standstill as thousands of people descended at Robins Park early in the morning for the funeral service and later the burial ceremony.
Minister of Sports and Culture Grace Chiumia also attended the burial ceremony representing President Peter Mutharika.
At exactly 2:30 pm, the remains of Chinga were interred at HHI Cemetery where thousands of people came to pay their last respects.
Almost every space at the cemetery was filled and it took time for the casket carrying the remains of Chinga to be taken to her final resting place.
Some people climbed trees to watch the proceedings and there was pushing and shoving throughout as people tried to find space and fresh air.
There was no preaching at the burial ceremony because of the noise from the thousands of people.
It was also difficult for the wreaths to be laid as only Chinga’s mother, her children, Chiumia, Deputy Speaker Esther Mcheka Chilenje and former minister Clement Khembo among others laid wreaths.
With the situation getting out of hand, laying of wreaths was stopped before the minister, family members and others left the cemetery.
But even after being told that the burial ceremony was over, people still remained with some saying they wanted to see Chinga’s resting place.
The funeral ceremony started at Robins Park where thousands gathered early in the morning and by 8am, Robins Park was already full which forced the organising team to close the doors.
The body viewing at Robins Park did not take place as the programme was changed due to the presence of thousands of people.
The main entrance to the Robins Park was broken and the police fired teargas at some point as people outside wanted to get in.
Chinga famed for hits such as ‘Thandizo Langa,’ and ‘Korona,’ was no ordinary artist.
The presence of thousands of people, who after Robins Park walked to the cemetery with others singing her songs, proved her huge influence and that of her music.
Only a few people including Chinga’s mother, children and the minister paid their last respects.
Several musicians who included Evans Meleka, Prince Yasin Jenala, Rudo Mkukupha Chakwera and Member of Parliament Allan Ngumuya performed at Robins Park.
There were also artists, who are set to release a movie in which they featured Chinga, who did a sketch just to show how heartbroken they were with Chinga’s death.
Various musicians including Joseph Tembo, Aubrey Kusakala, King James Phiri, Chimwemwe Binauli, Allan Jogi and Ethel Kamwendo Banda also performed a tribute to Chinga.
The tribute was produced by Khathwa Aligiza, who said on Friday that Chinga’s album was ready.
But the special moment was when Chinga’s daughter Miracle, who has been performing with her mother and also featured in several music videos, dished two songs including one of her mother’s songs ‘Ndiululireni.’
She attracted cheers from the huge audience and her singing prowess left some people in tears while others said Chinga still lives in her.
Even the sports and culture minister said she was amazed with Miracle’s talent.
“There was a reason why Grace gave the name Miracle to her daughter and we have just witnessed a miracle here and Grace still lives in Miracle,” said Chiumia.
Miracle performed with her brother Steve, who produced his mother ’s single ‘Ndzaulura.’
This is the single in which Chinga showed her artistry of composition and the lyrics have left people with more questions as the message is so deep.
A woman, who identified herself as Beatrice Tembo and travelled all the way from Mzuzu said:
“I have never seen such a crowd at a funeral. This is just an indication that Chinga was loved. Her songs have changed many people including me and so I made sure I came to pay my last respects.”
Pastor Isaac Mpazula said on Friday during a funeral service at Full Gospel Church that Chinga was not only a star in music, but rather she was also a church elder.
Some people said the situation at Chinga’s funeral ceremony had indicated that the singer was a star and that she deserved a state funeral.
Chinga was born on June 28, 1978 and hailed from Leza Village, Traditional Authority Makhuwira in Chikwawa.
With three albums to her credit namely Yekha, Thandizo Langa and Ndidzayimba Nyimbo, she is survived by three children.