By Conleith Selenje
The Malawi National Anthem came into existence at our Independence (1964) marking the birth of a new nation and replacing “God Save the Queen”, the Federal Anthem.
It was composed by Mr Michael Fred Sauka who at the time of the composure was an employee of the Audit Department of the Federal Government. He also played the organ at Nankhunda Seminary where he had been a student and apart from this he taught music on part time at a Catholic Girls School.
As Nyasaland approached Independence several pillars of change from colonial system of government to self-rule were to be effected and one was the adoption of a new anthem.
A worldwide call was made and a competition was launched with a grand prize of £100 to the winner. Entries came from all over the world from different composers including Tanganyika, Nigeria, Denmark, Germany, France, Britain, Kenya and Northern and Southern Rhodesia.
Mr Michael Sauka sent four different entries altogether.
Trained by a Catholic music expert, Father Vroemen while at Nankhunda Seminary, the talent instilled into Michael from his father Mr Paul Sauka took shape.
Part of his skill was also sharpened by father Mathias Chimole who was a choir master for the Seminary choir.
A Steering Committee which was responsible for overseeing the transition from Colonialism to Independence which was headed by Mr Kanyama Chiume recommended three entries to the Prime Minister Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda for approval.
The Prime Minister recommend Mr Michael Sauka piece as meaningful and beautiful.
A ceremony was held at the Zomba State House and the Prime Minister, Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda presented the £100 pound cheque to the 29-year-old Michael Sauka.
Finally, Malawi had its own National Anthem.