Hitmakers on the microphone, songs in the air, eyes on stage and feet hammering on the dance floor as disco lights add colour to the jam.
The familiar features of nightlife at Motel Paradise could be bygones as the popular roadside venue, drinking joint and lodge in Blantyre City has changed ownership, dropping the final curtain on public entertainment
For about three decades, music lovers in Blantyre have associated the entertainment paradise along the M1 in Likhubula with live concerts.
The venue has hosted many local and foreign music giants.
Ma Blacks captured performing at Motel Paradise in Blantyre
This week, news emerged that the place has been sold and the new owners plan to turn it into a Muslim school called Madrassa.
If the plans turn out to be true, Motel Paradise will have gone the path taken by the once-famous Hotel Chisakalime along Tsiranana Road and hilltop Panorama along the driveway to Chileka Airport as well as Chilobwe Tavern, now a church.
In an interview yesterday, former Motel Paradise manager Edwin Ora confirmed the change of ownership.
“After the death of the owners, their sons, who were running it, decided to sell. I do not think the new owners will allow live entertainment,” he said.
Music promoter Jai Banda, a regular at Motel Paradise, said it was sad for entertainers to bid farewell to the venue.
He said: “Over the years, we developed an emotional attachment to the venue.
“It was the perfect ground for live music performances. Many local artists have used the venue to launch albums and live performances. Of course, I have held countless Entertainers Promotions events such as Utsi Tuluka and my birthday celebrations there.”
Banda recalls Zimbabwean legend Oliver Mtukudzi and Malawian icons on show at the venue.
“I remember how Bright Nkhata and I discovered the place and started booking it for our performances back in the days when we had a limited number of venues. Motel Paradise hall became ideal due to its size,” he said.
Banda said Motel Paradise has been a symbol of Entertainers Promotions events and last month they were planning to host his 65th birthday at the venue.
“We had already started advertising that we would host the birthday there, only to be told that the sale had gone through and we had to change. We will miss this iconic venue,” he said.
Black Missionaries Band leader Anjiru Fumulani said the reggae band holds fond memories of the venue where they held their early shows alongside their fallen founder Evison Matafale.
“Motel Paradise was like home. I also remember that we launched the Kuimba 4 album at Panorama, another good entertainment venue which was also closed. But it is what it is,” he said.
When The Nation visited the place yesterday, workers were seen erecting security barriers.
In random interviews, some music lovers were in disbelief.
“Zoonadi kodi? [So, it is true?].” wondered Billy Ndatha. “I always thought this place would be hosting gigs forever.”