Letter from Jack Allison, who has a new memoir about PC Malawi and his 1960s hit song Ufa Wa Mtedza

Monday October 12, 2020

–Dear Members of FOM–

My memoir was published by Peace Corps Writers via amazon.com in early June, and since then sales have been brisk. And because we’re donating all proceeds, I’ve been rather aggressive in promoting my book. Please keep in mind, too, that the COVID-19 pandemic has severely curtailed marketing…

The book is about how the three years that I spent in Malawi as a PCV impacted the remainder of my personal and professional life. I’ve been told that it’s a mighty fine read during shelter in place. For those who resonate with my book, I’d appreciate your chiming in with other members of FOM.

When I joined Peace Corps training in August 1966 and arrived in Malawi in January 1967, I neither intended to write the number one hit song in Malawi nor to be described by Newsweek as being more popular than Malawi’s own president. Most RPCVs are unaware that President Banda threw me out of the country, and set a date for the removal of the Peace Corps, as well.

Zikomo kwambiri ndi yebo chomeni for supporting this most worthy project. So far we’ve donated $1000.00 each to Manna Food Bank here in Asheville, NC; Together! ACT Now, a Malawi-based NGO which specializes in HIV-AIDS awareness, education & prevention (and which has partnered with me to write Anti-COVID-19 songs in Chichewa for Malawi); and Marion Medical Mission.

All the best, and

Cheers,

–Jack Allison–

 

The Warm Heart of Africa: An Outrageous Adventure of Love, Music, and Mishaps in Malawi

by Amazon.com

Learn more: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1950444104/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_imm_awdb_4FTzFbD22QYTA

 

By: Joanne O’Sullivan, [email protected]

New Memoir Recounts Peace Corps Experience, #1 Hit Song in 1960s Malawi

September, 2020 — In 1967, Jack Allison had already ‘opened’ for The Dave Clark Five on The Ed Sullivan show as a member of the UNC Men’s Glee Club and played North Carolina gigs with his band The One-Eyed Jacks. But he never expected that the little “jingle” he wrote to promote protein for child nutrition would become the number one hit on Malawi’s only radio station while he was serving there as a Peace Corps volunteer. With its surf-guitar beat, “Ufa Wa Mtedza” (The Peanut Butter Song) proved to be not only an effective way to spread a social message, but a great way to raise awareness and funds for development projects. Allison recounts this story and many others (including being kicked out of the country in 1970) in his new memoir The Warm Heart of Africa (Peace Corps Writers, 2020).

Allison’s uncommon memoir recounts a time in US and post-colonial history in Southern Africa when the Peace Corps was still young and the region was at a crossroads. Allison himself was at a crossroads, too, trying to decide between a career in ministry and medicine. Ultimately, he chose the latter, and went on to a successful four-decade career in emergency medicine, including serving as Chief of Staff at two VA hospitals. But he never stopped revisiting Malawi and other nations, providing medical care in Haiti in January 2010, and Kenya, Somalia, Malawi and Zambia in 2012. He also never stopped writing music. Allison has written over 115 songs and jingles and has recorded over 100 of those, including (most recently) a song to promote safety precautions to combat COVID-19. Through his music, he has raised more than $160,000 for various charitable organizations, including AIDS orphan charities in Malawi.

Dr. Allison retired as Chief of Staff of the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville, North Carolina in 2007. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1966 and earned a Master of Public Health degree from the UNC School of Public Health in 1971. He was graduated from the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1975. In 2012, he received the Distinguished Medical Alumnus Award from the School of Medicine of the University of North Carolina. The governor of North Carolina honored Dr. Allison on with The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest award the governor can bestow on a civilian.

For more information on The Warm Heart of Africa and to hear a recording of “Ufa Wa Mtedza,” go to http://www.goldleafliterary.com/jack-allison.

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