Interview with Malawi Hip Hop Artist Mwa Mwayii Mphande aka "Lady Pace"

Guest Article by Patti DeSante - Social Artist, Systems Change Engineer & Zen Buddhist Chaplain

I met with 19-year-old Mwa Mwayii Mphande aka Lady Pace last year when I was involved in resourcing an event organized by two local musicians who were excited about launching a new
community organization called, “Ntchangu,” which means "mine" in Tonga, a local northern language. 

What impressed me with our meeting was Lady Pace's clarity in the way she articulated her needs with respect to our request to perform as one of Malawians top female Hip Hop artists and also her generosity in working to accommodate our limited budget.

This year as I am close to completing my 8 month stay in Malawi, Lady Pace and I have become close friends, even launching a new facebook page; Lady Pace and Patti, that will both serve our efforts in launching a crowdfunding campaign in collaboration with Chief Kachindamoto to end childhood marriages and enable us to share our adventures and create revenue generating opportunities for us as we journey together as friends united by our bond as, “Nkazi Moto,” FIRE WOMEN.

When Marilyn Wilson, another dear friend and fellow Nkazi Moto, offered me an opportunity to be a guest interviewer in her popular 12 question column, I sat down with Lady Pace, wearing a popular
bright red football jersey worn by much of the indigenous community here, Manchester United. Although I have had the privilege of being in Mwayi's company many times I am always blown away by the strength and insights offered by this young woman who was born into a country, beloved by me and many, but still a place where women are second class citizens and recently referred to by a Malawian female author as simply objects of male amusement, similar to a football game.

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What are the feelings you want to feel the next 12 months?

I want to feel peaceful. I connect peace with love and peaceful for me means doing something I
love. (Love for Lady Pace means the connection you have with everyone around you, each and every
connection.) Malawian women are power beacons in their capacity to love. Women create life. Here in Malawi you can hear a man say, my wife is not home so my home is not OK. We women hold things together.

How has your cultural background influenced your style?

It hasn't really because I feel free when I dress and Hip Hop is my culture and you take it down in every way.

What is Malawian hip hop style? 

I cannot really define it. I dress how I feel which is the essence of speaking or wearing ones truth.

Do you identify with the word sexy?

I don't identify with the word sexy yet.

Why not? 

Because I have seen how people comment when they identify with someone being sexy and my lifestyle and interest is totally away from that imaging.

What could sexy mean or do you even think sexy is a good description of anything and in what
context would you want to be called sexy?

Confidence wise. Patti...I will ask you the same question in ten years and in twenty years.

What is your philosophy of fashion?

I take fashion as my culture. It expresses who I am and what I do. There are times when I dress up and I am not trying to do a specific style and yet people will pick me out of crowd particularly in Malawi and know because of the way I dress I have something to say about life beyond fashion.

Is there anything you don't connect with?

Yes, I don't connect well with people who don't let me be me. There needs to be a genuineness about people for me to connect and when I feel connected, I feel peaceful regardless of what is happening.

There is a popular magazine in Africa called, “New African Woman,” What does being a, “New
African Woman,” mean to you?

I think it means women have been reborn, and they have realized how powerful they are in the society. Something has snapped. The strength of the Malawian women is their Love, with a capital .L. When you love, you can almost do anything and god is love. Being in a country where women don't realize how powerful they are the one thing they do is offer love to their husbands and their kids. They are very committed on that. 

( Lady pace also touched briefly on the weakness of the Malawian women. They don't work together, and this needs to change. This point of clarity was also spoken by the first Lady Of Malawi, Gertrude Mtharika, who we both had the privilege of meeting at a recent event in support of the plight of Albinos.)

What made you happy today?

The music in the morning...and the company...just the right company. 

Do you consider yourself happy most days?


What do you fear?

I am scared of fame. Sometimes it takes the essence of whatever calling you have and sometimes it takes people away that you love.

How do you stay grounded?

I stay to connected to god. 

How do you stay connected to God? 

By asking him. Because you have to ask for everything. For you to even love god you have to
ask god to give you that love.”

What comes easy to you?

The right things.

What do you like about your character?

It is very easy for people to relate to me. I make it easy for people to love and trust me. So when they
mess up they are done. How does a person mess up with you? If they mess with your trust...and it will go back to the things that I love...then it is kaboom...

What are you most curious about?

My future. I don't know how it is going to turn out but I meet the weirdest people in my life...which
makes sense because you know how birds of a feather flock together.
understand this. It reduces fear.

What are the things that Malawian men and women don't normally discuss? 

Normally we don't talk about women things like menstrual cycles. The generation that has been raised in the city are now more open to discussing such matters which as a woman I consider progress because it makes it easier to discuss and understand each other and how we are different. When women are experiencing their cycle they are more vulnerable and it is good for men to know.

What does Malawi need most? 

We need our independence. By independence I mean to feel back into our cultural beliefs and what WE as a people stand for. Some people have become very selfish and destructive. The plight of the albinos is one example and all too often we are relying on someone to get us what we want. We are ultimately a people who believe in love, peace and unity. The unity I speak about is a unity within ourselves and with our family, community and nation..In terms of women we need gender equality. We need to be treated better in everything. Men need to be recognized. The men that I speak about are the men that are doing the right things to promote unity, to promote and work for gender equality.

What do you need most? 

I want my dad to be happy.. No matter where girls live and are raised this seems to be something we share in common, no matter what age we are. We all want are dads to be happy. So much in this declaration that unites women in our capacity to love our dads and to love men.

Links - 

Social Media -
Instagram: @Ladypace7

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