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Chimbwi, our hyena, rest in peace!

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As the mkatibu (secretary) of the Crew, I have been accorded a rare opportunity to freely express my mind, while the rest of the Crew is just listening, and comforting me over this sad news and fact.

All members of the Crew are, of course, equally sad. Sad that we have lost the ‘ which in Tumbuka language means hyena, or what is known as Fisi in Chichewa language. For those who have lived or stayed in Mzuzu for some time, the guy called Chimbwi was synonymous with the city.

He was popular, he was one of the sons of that Northern Region city. He was also popularly known by a local Tumbuka name, Mr. Msowoya. He used to boast of that name, ‘ise a Musowoya’! I loved the Chimbwi, our group of friends loved him, I mean our circle of closest friends in Mzuzu.

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That is why, when I relayed the news of Chimbwi’s demise to my best of best friends, who equally was a best friend to Chimbwi, Chimwemwe Mazunda [who stays out of Malawi somewhere], we mourned and openly cried.

This Germa- born best friend of ours, Heinner Kampaussen, the Chimbwi, was not an ordinary person. He was a brother in deed to me and Chimwemwe. Then we all also got hooked in friendship to another ‘crazy’ brother of us, Dick Kachipande, then of Mzimba and became a team of four inseparable friends, supporting each other and standing for each other. Dick, tell us more… [sobbing].

I mean you, Kachipande! The guy Chimbwi was more of a Malawian than German, not only because he married a Malawian woman and has children that are Malawian to the root, but Chimbwi loved Malawi. Sad he breathed his last last week. When the wife called me immediately after his demise at the Mzuzu Central Hospital, my hypertension went into dangerous gear.

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“Are you Tayanjah my in-law?” she asked. “Yes I am, that should be Chimbwi’s phone you are using, how is my brother,” I responded. Sobbing and sobbing was the immediate reply. “Your friend and brother is gone. Wwe have lost him, we have just deposited him in the mortuary. We are still at the hospital,” she replied. “Chimbwi dead…noooo!”

I immediately recalled how we became friends, when he used to work for GTZ Border Zone Project. Later, we began to get acquainted, mostly because we shared love for the cameras – photography. Being a master of the lens and focus, he taught me a lot about photography, he taught me that out there people don’t look at race or colour or nationality to be friends. “I come from Inkosi Mtwalo area, I am Msowoya, call me Chimbwi, huwiiiii!” that was the original joke that kept us hooked as friends for ever. Later, Chimwemwe Mazunda joined our bandwagon of ‘crazy fellas’.

I introduced Chimbwi to the Nyika Media Club, a media world that gave us the best platform for interaction platform. Chimbwi became a dedicated member, an Executive Committee member for a long time and he had a passion for the Malawi media.

Later, he equally became a dedicated member of the Media Institute of Southern Africa-Malawi Chapter (Namisa, now called Misa- Malawi) and, for a long time, never missed a Namisa event or AGM. I remember the days we would, as members of Nyika Media Club and Namisa, stopover at Nkhamenya on our way to the AGM, merry making by way of a goat braii. Chimwemwe, where are you?

The Chimbwi is in the world of the dead now. Who is going to joke with us during our rare get-together, be it in Mzuzu or Mbeya [Tanzania]? Do you remember that birthday party of his in Mzuzu, where we interacted with his friends such as Mr. Singini of Kaka Motel.

No one understood why Chimbwi had a passion for everything Malawian, but we understood. We can talk more and more, we can write volumes and volumes, but we cannot adequately describe how sad we are, losing our Chimbwi. Wherever you are our ‘hyena’, know we loved you to the core, you were our brother from another mother. Rest in Peace Heinner, our Chimbwi, Mr. Msowoya

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