They entertained us but brutal death wrenched them from this world. They rose to prominence through their individual artistic ingenuity and this explains why their respective deaths made headlines on arts pages.
Therefore, today, as we launch a new artistic year, The Sunday Times pays tribute to artists that died during the year that has just wrapped up.
Poet extraordinaire Obrien Nazombe died in June after suffering from meningitis. The artist was popular for 'Patsinde', a poetry programme aired on Joy FM Radio, which he presented.
Through the programme, Nazombe assisted many poets to produce best works. He also owned Namanyonyoro Studio where several poets had their albums produced.
Speaking to The Daily Times, Poetry Association of Malawi president, Felix Njonjonjo Katsoka, hailed Nazombe, saying "he wanted so many things to happen in the world of poetry and we will try to continue on that path".
At the funeral, renowned poet Nyamalikiti Nthiwatiwa recited a piece 'Chifukwa Chake Nchimodzi' that recounted the artistic expertise Obrien had. A week later, a poetry fest featuring prominent local poets was staged at the Warehouse Cultural Centre in Blantyre in honour of the departed poet.
He was born on February 3, 1974.
Born on April 30, 1975, Mwatero Makhatchera Khanje aka T-Man was a musician whose compositions mostly employed a traditional touch. He rose to fame with his album 'Mganda', which has the smash hit 'Menya Batcha'. Another of his popular songs is 'Gule wa Zomwezo'.
T-Man was accorded a singular funeral ceremony, befitting the musician that he was. In an article titled 'Musical Farewell for T-Man', Malawi News reported that the funeral was spiced up with music performances led by Dyton Kudzala of the 'Ndikayima pa Phiri la Mulanje' fame.
"T-Man loved music and this is why we are here playing music to show what he was," Kudzala told the paper.
At the time of his death in April, the fallen artist was reportedly working on a gospel album – probably a testimony that he had seriously embarked on a spiritual journey as a born again Christian belonging to the Winners Chapel Church.
Ken '7 years Siyabu
There are some artists who come into the limelight after death and this is what can be said about Ken 7 years Siyabu.
Many arts enthusiasts came to know that it was Ken's hands that had worked on some of iconic artist Lucius Banda's music videos after his death in a road accident in November. This was after the legendary musician had taken time off his tight schedule to attend Ken's funeral ceremony in Lilongwe where he disclosed to the local press that the deceased was the producer for a number of his DVDs.
Ethno-musician Waliko Makhala, writing in his column 'On Art Beat' in The Weekend Times, paid tribute to Ken as "a young man with rare skills of filming and editing ... the production of videos is what most artists appreciated him for in his short sojourn on this earth".
And a Facebook page, 'Remembering Ken Khennes Siyabu', was created to celebrate the life and creativity of the talented producer. A fan, Tamara Thomas Chafunya, posted this: "Rasta with so much charm, Rasta with so much humour, Rasta full of fun, You will always be and you will never change"
Baba Katemba Kamlepo
Popularly known as Chipululu Nthano, Baba Katemba died aged 42 in March last year. He once served as chairperson for the Musician Association of Malawi (Mam) - Southern Region Chapter.
The musician died in a horrible manner as at first it was rumoured he had been murdered in Blantyre's township of Machinjiri. Burial had to be delayed for postmortem but it was later declared that he had died of severe bleeding resulting from injuries sustained in a car accident.
The Daily Times quoted the then Mam president Costen Mapemba describing Katemba as "a dedicated musician and member of the music association."
Gospel diva, Esther Chiyembekeza died in November - at a time her music career was blossoming. She died of diabetes.
Born in 1985, Esther launched her career as a secular musician and rose to artistic glory, courtesy of the hit song 'Honey Honey'.
The only female artist to have died in 2011, Esther left behind two gospel albums 'Siya Tchimo' and 'Ndapambana Bwanji'.
Reacting to her death, Mam executive member Diwa Khwiliro was quoted by The Daily Times as saying "Chiyembekeza has died when she was making great progress in the gospel music circles".
Death struck the arts fraternity again in November. It took away musician and poet Wisdom Chitedze after he lost the fight to liver problems in a South African hospital.
Born on March 29, 1979, Wisdom became popular for the song 'Tipewe', which preaches abstinence as the best ammunition in the battle against HIV/Aids. Another of Wisdom's piece that enjoyed massive airplay is 'Odala Mayiwa', a tribute to mothers.
Malawi News described Wisdom as an artist who used poetic skills in his songs. In fact, to prove the vast poetry prowess he possessed, both Malawi News and Weekend Nation coincidentally published Wisdom's poem 'Soul in Influx' on the same day.
Wisdom was also an essayist and the same Malawi News edition quoted an article 'A Letter to My Sisters', which he had published in The New African Magazine.
"I was born and raised a man, I will die a man. And as a man, right now I feel very sad, very ashamed and very angry with myself! I look back in human and my personal history and I see a trail of needless pain and sorrow inflicted on women by, or as a result of, us men," thus reads the article in part.
Musician, producer, playwright and actor, Fred Muphuwa breathed his last last week after complaining of breathing problems.
Born on February 2, 1974 Fred was part and parcel of Malawi's arguably most celebrated acoustic duo of Edgar ndi Davis.
In an interview with The Daily Times, Davis Njobvu had this to say: "Fred was rich in cultural resources and he contributed a lot in terms of input to lift Edgar ndi Davis to be where it is today."
The paper also reported that during his artistic career, Fred had composed a total of 1, 500 jingles. As a producer, the Chancellor College graduate worked on developmental radio programmes like 'Tsogolo Langa', 'Mbali Yanga', 'Pakachere' and 'One Love'.
And, like was the case at the funerals of T-Man and Nazombe, actors performed a 'Mbali Yanga' sketch during Fred's burial ceremony as a way of paying their last respects to their departed comrade-in-arms.