Tributes pour in for late ‘Lady Groove’ Maria Chidzanja Nkhoma

By Duncan Mlanjira

‘Lady Groove’ Maria Chidzanja Nkhoma, Malawi’s own music icon who was placed alongside African stars such as Miriam Makeba, has died and tributes continue to pour in with many describing her as a “legend” and “radio personality extraordinaire”.

Veteran journalist Janet Zeenat Karim simply quoted Maria’s most popular song: “Mwana wa mzako! Mwana wa mzako akalila, usam’tsilile makhwala iwe; amake polila iyiyi toto, mwananga wafelanji? Iyiyi toto, wafela pakhomo pa anthu awa!”

Rest in Jehovah God’s eternal loving peace,” wrote Karim on Facebook as an ODE for this veteran broadcaster, who in her last years was working for Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS).

According to ZBS, Maria Chidzanja Nkhoma died Saturday morning at at Kamuzu Central Hospital where she was being treated for COVID-19 related complications.

Rest well, Maria

According to ZBS, Maria Chidzanja Nkhoma was until her death the head of women and children section at the station.

Maria Chidzanja Nkhoma became famous from the 1980s whilst working at Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) as an announcer, producer, news anchor as well as a recording artist.

She was also part of the then very popular MBC Band. In 1994, Maria Chidzanja Nkhoma moved to South Africa where she joined Channel for Africa, a broadcasting station under the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

She returned home in 2003 and did volunteer work at Radio Alinafe for nearly a year before joining ZBS.

Advertising poster for Rudo and Maria

Performing artist Rudo Chakwera posted a advertising poster on Facebook and wrote: “Fare thee well, Aunt Maria Chidzanja Nkhoma. My Icon, my Mentor. We sang together at this concert a few years ago. What a way to depart…You have gone too early.”

Another musician Chimwemwe Mhango said: “We performed together at a number of places both locally and internationally. Rest well Maria.”

Lawyer Wellington Kazembe described her as “one of the greatest announcers and singers in Malawi. Generations have listened to your Golden Voice and they will continue to do so!”

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Emmanuel Kaluluma said this was a huge loss and “one of few Malawians who you do not need a microscope to see what she did for our country. Maria you  will be missed”.

Veronica Paddy said: “Our very own African Queen and song bird… gone too soon. What a role model for the girl child and the youth she was. MHSRIEP, our memories of you will live on for a long, long time.”

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