Biographies coming to light
During one of the book launches in Blantyre last year, a veteran author bemoaned the country’s lack of interest in writing biographies for its sons and daughters as is the case in other countries.
The writer said time had come for the country to come out and tell stories of its sons and daughters and he challenged writers to consider writing biographies.
One of the writers who has contributed a lot in terms of writing biographies for some of the renowned people in the country is the late Desmond Dudwa Phiri, popularly known as DD Phiri.
DD Phiri, an economist, historian, and playwright who died in 2019 was the principal and proprietor of Aggrey Memorial School in Blantyre.
The legendary author published 17 books in the fields of history, sociology and economics and was recognised by Pan-African Writers’ Association (Pawa) as one of the top 23 authors in Africa in 2011.
DD Phiri wrote books on people such as Charles Chidongo Chinula, Dunduzu Chisiza and James Frederick Sangala.
There are well-known people in the country whose stories need to be told.
Recently, veteran writer Willie Zingani also came out to publish a biography of President Lazarus Chakwera.
Biographies or autobiographies are important in that they give people an insight into real life stories of the successful or remarkable people, some of which motivate and provide encouragement.
Some biographies have given students insights into the journey that some of the renowned people have travelled to be where they are today.
Another biography that is set to come out being edited by Zingani is that of Lady Justice Tujilane Chizumila who is with the African Court of Human and People’s Rights based in Arusha, Tanzania.
There seems to be interest in biographies now which is something positive for the country and another of the biographies that is set to be launched next month is that of Archbishop Mark Kambalazaza.
Archbishop Kambalazaza, a former Catholic priest, fought all odds to claim his place in the new Charismatic Pentecostal arena.
Former Malawi Writers Union president Sambalikagwa Mvona said he is happy that writers are taking interest in writing biographies.
“We have been talking about biographies for some time. Writers did not have interest but now things are changing. We need more of these biographies. We need to preserve all these stories especially for the future generation,” Mvona said.
The former Mawu president has been part and parcel of Kambalazaza’s book titled From Catholic Priest to World Evangelist: The Incredible Lifestory of Archbishop Dr Mark Kambalazaza.
“Archbishop Kambalazaza has an inspiring story and so I encouraged him to write so that people can know more about him and also get to see the journey he has travelled to be where he is today,” Mvona said.
The book takes people on Archbishop Kambalazaza’s journey starting off with his birth and moving on to his calling and miracles, encounter with God, the Lord Jesus introducing the Holy Ghost in his life, ordination to priesthood and life in early stages of ministry.
There is also a chapter in the book where Archbishop Kambalazaza takes time to talk about how God deals with plagues citing Covid.
In the book, Kambalazaza also takes time to talk about the God-given vision that later turned him from his former priesthood calling into world evangelism.
A lot has been said about Kambalazaza being a rebel priest and he explains it all in the book.
“No, it was actually a sacrificial, very tough, confusing and painful decision to follow the divine calling in obedience that later on, along the way, was confirmed by divine blessings upon my life,” he says.
Mvona said people have a lot to learn from the book and that the country needs to bring out more biographies.
“We are not yet there but we will get there and I am happy with the strides made and a lot of well-known people are now coming out to talk about their stories,” he said.
Kambalazaza is the founder of Charismatic Redeemed Ministries International, which he founded in 1998.