Thanks Unima for the honours

 Once upon a time, in Malawi, any public infrastructure of outstanding quality would be named after Kamuzu, sorry, His Excellency the Life President, Ngwazi Dr H. Kamuzu Banda, M.D., DoF. As such, we had and still have the Kamuzu College of Nursing, Kamuzu Dam, Kamuzu Highway in Blantyre, Kamuzu Highway in Salima, Kamuzu Highway in Mzuzu, Kamuzu Procession Road, Kamuzu Hostel, Kamuzu Central Hospital, Kamuzu Great Lakeshore Road, Kamuzu International Airport, Kamuzu Barrage, Kamuzu Abbattori and Kamuzu Stadium. And Kamuzu Academy? No. That is a private institution, now part of the Chayamba Trust.

Apart from infrastructure, some fanatical parents even named their children


In the early 1980s, when Kamuzu’s iron fist rule started waning, some revolution took place. At Chancellor College, students were silently opposed to the naming of the (still?) magnificent multipurpose Great Hall. Each time the Hall was referred to as Kamuzu Great Hall in notices displayed at the Porters’ Lodge, the name Kamuzu would be tippexed off or defaced with ink, by whom, some of us did not know. The authorities and, perhaps Kamuzu himself, understood the silent protest. And adjusted.

During the formal opening of the hall, which coincided with the 1982 graduation, it was simply referred to as the Great Hall by Kamuzu himself, and the name has

 remained so.

The silent revolution meant that some public infrastructure built later did not carry Kamuzu’s name. The Highway from Kaunda Road junction to the State House in Lilongwe was simply called Presidential Drive and the State House was named New State House. Perhaps the Ngwazi and his immediate naming team had understood what those students at Chancoll had commenced. Kamuzu never messed with university students, collectively

The Presidential Drive has remained so but the New State House has been renamed Kamuzu Palace (cour tesy of President Joyce Banda; no relation

 to Prof Dr Joyce Befu, MGH 66, MEGA 1), proof, perhaps, that Kamuzu’s legacy cannot be ignored and obliterated. We hear that for the law balkanising and dismembering the University of Malawi to pass, the Malawi Congress Party insisted one of the new (in name) universities should be named after Kamuzu. Whence, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (Kuhes)

Thereafter, people started naming infrastructure after other Malawians that have contributed immensely to the growth and development of Malawi (don’t be cheated, we are much better than we were 60 years ago!).

The library at College of Medicine, before it became

 main campus of the KUHeS, was named after Dr John Chiphangwi, an academic, an administrator, who worked very hard to see the College of Medicine up and running.

Then at Chancel lor College, before it legally monopolised the name Univer s i ty of Malawi, the newly-constructed biology laboratories were named after Professor B rown Chi mp h amb a whose contribution to the development of university education in Malawi cannot be challenged.

At the Malawi Polytechnic, before it was forced to change its name to Mubas, there is a Raphael Tenthani Lecture Series that takes place in the Raphael Tenthani Centre. Tenthani was a BBC Malawi correspondent for decades until he died in a car accident in 2015.

Today, we hear the new University of Malawi Economics Department Buildings have Wadonda Lecture Theatres, in memory of the late Prof. Ephraim

 Wadonda Chirwa, who was part of the economics department until his death in 2019. Then there is the Chinyamata Chipeta Library. Professor Chinyama Chipeta taught Economics at Chancellor for a long time. He is famous for his indigenous money theory and books. Then there will be the Prof. Ben Kaluwa Seminar Series.

Zinthuzatani , amangwetu? Zatani?

Thanks Unima for these honours. The dead and the living must be smiling.

We look forward to the day other schools in the public universities shall name part of their infrastructure after other luminaries like Prof Steve Chimombo (creative writing), Prof Felix Mnthali (literature), Prof Mupa Shumba (theatre), Prof Nyovani Madise, Prof. Samuel Manda (statistics), Prof Francis Chilipaine (contrastive linguistics), Prof. Landson Mhango (nuclear and aeronautics) and, of course, ourselves, the Bottom Up Delegation (journtainment

The post Thanks Unima for the honours first appeared on Nation Online.

The post Thanks Unima for the honours appeared first on Nation Online.