Malawian internet father


Sir Tim Berners-Lee is the world’s father of the internet. Dr Paulos Nyirenda is incontestably the Malawian Tim Berners Lee.

Incalculably intellectually-gifted individual, Paulos Nyirenda pioneered the birth of today’s ubiquitous internet. Between 1993 and 1997, Dr Nyirenda developed and implemented the first public e-mail system in Malawi; at the University of Malawi (Unima).

Unima was developed to monetise and be self-sustaining.


In 2001, this distinguished son of the soil initiated and negotiated the homecoming of the .mw ccTLD from an operator in the USA.

Did I say that he was abundantly smart? I will buttress it. The man scored a straight eight during the 1975 MSCE not at “Box 2” but Mzimba Secondary School. You want more? He graduated with a distinction; Physics and Mathematics at Chancellor College in 1979.

Dr Nyirenda has travelled the world. He has authored various papers in Science and Technology.


Since 1997, he has been the national coordinator of Malawi Sustainable Development Network Programme (SDNP), an ISP under Malawi Government but executed by National Commission for Science and Technology.

He is a code writer, network and telecommunication engineer per excellence. Yet he finds time to read Computer Crosstalk not to be academically aroused but to audit content and point out loudly when I get ‘’trashy’’.

The thing is that Computer Crosstalk is not academically scented. It has never been, it is not and will never be. What is it then? It is art employed to convey technology content. In English, it is about computer evangelism (ojiya wa minbasi ya tekinoloje).

If I can spice it with a Keats-like line and make a non-tech CEO understand iOS, my work is considered done.

I had the privilege to meet Dr Paulos Nyirenda once in the 1990s. He was then a Physics Lecturer at Chanco. He was visiting my boss. I can still hear him passionately explaining to my boss about internet roll-out in Malawi.

All I am trying to say is that we need, once in a while, to come together and celebrate intellectuals like Paulos Nyirenda and Matthews Mtumbuka. They are the diamonds of tech talent in Malawi.

I have set the ball rolling; the government and banks pick it from there.

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