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An ode to Lumbani Namba

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The entry of this week is arising from my recent personal experience. Whilst I have tackled numerous wider topical issues affecting critical human, economic, political and socio-cultural processes in the previous entries; I am compelled today, in view of the sudden loss we encountered in our midst, of our brother, father, cousin, uncle, employee and comrade- Lumbani Namba to tackle the existential fact of death and sudden experience of the loss of a beloved one.

Whilst we accept and acknowledge that death is the last possibility of all, the possibility that makes impossible any further possibilities whatever; this acknowledgement does not take away the pain and the loss we encounter each time death occurs.

We do also know that from the very beginning of life, human beings are already in the situation of mortality. We are always old enough to die hence the saying: “there is no age for death”. Death, therefore, is one of the most inexorable “givens” of our human condition.

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Yes, it is true that humanity has been able to do more to reduce mortality, and that it is conceivable that with the advancement of medical science people are and will keep on living longer. But no-one seriously believes that death can be eliminated. People usually want to postpone death, but death and temporality are so much constitutive part of humanity that it is fair to conclude that death will remain part of our human condition.

I take, therefore, the sudden death of my best friend and brother- Lumbani Namba-to be a critical reminder of the immanence of death. His death reminds me that death indeed remains untimely as far as it is within the persistent human desire to understand death.

The losing of you Lumbani, our brother, means a lot of things to me. We must live well all the time to all the people as there is no time to go back and bid goodbye to our loved ones. We must recognise the essence of forgiveness and reconciliation as constitutive parts of our daily social lives as living with grudges and hatred may make us feel worse when the one whom we held grudges against, the one we hated passionately just like the one we verbally or psychologically abused is suddenly gone forever from us. We must make living life possible and that life must not be lived under duress or under consistent man made pressures. It is better to love the life we are living than to live in an escapist dream world which is often times an illusion.

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I have also sadly realised the encroachment of technological advancement into the psychic of the present generation. Death of another is viewed and is portrayed on social media as “joking” event. It provides a platform for wild speculations and innuendos aimed at fulfilling our deepest desires to be in the know and to be experts of human life and thinking patterns regardless of our lack of expertise and sheer desire to be heard by the unknown. I must confess, I do not like what most Malawians write about one’s death experience especially when is a sudden death and it’s of a well known person. I do believe, even after death, people still need respect.

We need to inculturate the scientific advancements as lived through our social media platforms: whatsApp, face book, instant gram and online news. We should not throw away our important and compassionate socio-cultural and traditional beliefs that shaped our views about death and the deceased just because we will use fake names or pseudo names on social media.

We still remain Malawians and must live the Malawian lives regardless of the changes on our living contexts. It is un Malawian to celebrate the death of another human being no matter what prescribed position that person was in your eyes or in our society. The loss of a loved one remains painful to those close and those that have an existential experience of the sudden departure.

As minutes turn into hours; as hours turn into days; as days turn into weeks; as weeks turn into months then into years; we who loved, valued, cherished and got embraced by you Lumbani Namba will miss you, will feel the void, and will keep on grappling with the facts surrounding your death. More so we will continue to celebrate your life, its successes and achievements on earth.

Our lives will remain influenced by your sober, patient and quietly expressed words of encouragement, support and critique of lesser socially constructive issues. We miss your building of bridges of love and peace among different families and friends.

May Your Soul Rest in Eternal Peace!

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