The universal message from at least six people who delivered their eulogies for the late Christopher Fadeson Kamlongera was that a gentle giant, adamant about his calling, had lived a full life which death, for all its malice, will not afford to thrust into the mist of time.
Kamlongera, who succumbed to cancer after a long battle with the chronic disease, was laid to rest at Mlinda Village at Kamphata in Lilongwe where scores of mourners paid their last respects.
Death has robbed the nation of an avid researcher; a great leader, the eulogists lamented. It has robbed his family of a compassionate and loving pillar, but as is always the case with great people, death happens to be the loser.
It has ended on a deserted stage where the wilful actor has leaped into another setting; that seemed to be message his students depicted when they briefly acted part of a play which Kamlongera had written.
Even as his body, trapped in a tanned casket, laid beneath a fresh mound of earth which is the fallen don’s final resting place, his numerous contributions in the academia and elsewhere produced a unique epitaph of a 67-year-old chapter closed at its right time.
University of Malawi (Unima) Vice-Chancellor, John Kalenga Saka, described the late Kamlongera as an academic giant who, through his passion for progress, had earned the highest rank in the university.
“It is possible that some of us relax the moment we attain the rank of professor. He continued working hard and has contributed a lot to the academia. He was even an inspiration to some of us coming behind.
“Beyond his death lies great works which will continue being remembered as they are not bound by time. Many will continue learning from such works,” said Saka.
Born on January 20, 1949, the late Kamlongera was one of the first students to be selected to Chancellor College (Chanco) before it even moved to Zomba from Blantyre.
He obtained his Doctor of Philosophy Degree at Leeds University in 1984 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1988 before becoming a full professor of Drama and Theatrical Studies in 1992.
He once served as Dean of Humanities at Chanco apart from being the founding Executive Director of the Malawi Institute Journalism (MIJ).
He was also Chanco acting principal from 2009 before becoming principal between 2010 and 2014. His death came just a day after Chanco had lost a student and few days after one of the college’s lecturers had lost his wife.
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