Minister of Tourism and Cul¬ture, Daniel Liwimbi, on Friday applauded Malian singer Salif Keita for taking his time to come to Malawi and perform. It was the first time for the Malian to perform in the country.
The minister made the re¬marks at Chileka Airport in Blan¬tyre after welcoming the artist and his band members prior to his performance on Friday night as the headliner of this year's Blantyre Arts Festival (Baf).
"We welcome you to Malawi; feel free. Malawians have been waiting for you and your show and they can't wait longer to see you. It's a pleasure to have you here," said the minister who was accompanied by officials from his ministry and Baf execu¬tive director, Thom Chiba¬mbo.
Keita later received a bou¬quet of flowers from Jacaran¬da students led by two albino young girls before they sang a song, welcoming the artist. It was quite a moving moment as Keita is also an albino.
The Malian artist nearly shed a tear for the perfect gift of flowers and the song from the students. He, later, togeth¬er with the minister, posed for a group photograph.
He said he was excited to be in Malawi; especially that it was the first time for him to visit the country.
"Iam happy to be here, it is a beautiful country with warm people. Whenever Itravel to any African country, Ifeel at home and so Malawi is my home," he said.
Keita is a direct descen¬dant of the founder of the Mali Empire, Sundiata Keita. This royal heritage meant that under the Malian caste sys¬tem, the artist should never have become a singer, which was deemed to be the role of a griot (praise singer for the king).
But the artist said he had great passion for music hence much as his parents were war¬riors, he could not ignore the musician in him.