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Professor Steve Chimombo’s burial Tuesday

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One of the country’s famous writers Professor Steve Chimombo will be buried on Tuesday at Samuel Village, Traditional Authority Malemia in Zomba.

His nephew George confirmed of the burial Sunday.

Professor Chimombo’s death has shocked the creative industry in the country.

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The writer, poet, editor and teacher died suddenly on Friday morning at Mwaiwathu Hospital in Blantyre.

“We are saddened by his death as Malawi Writers Union (Mawu). It’s sad that he has died without being honoured. He did a lot for this country and he wrote a lot of books which have helped this country as far as democracy is concerned,” said Mawu president Sambalikagwa Mvona.

Mvona said Professor Chimombo is one of the writers, who they honoured last year decorating him with the Legendary Award.

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“We gave him the Legendary Award alongside Willie Zingani, DD Phiri and James Ng’ombe because he was a prolific writer and was above average writing close to 30 books. We have always said that our authors are not given the respect,” said the Mawu President.

He noted that most of the works by local writers are not being used on the syllabus.

“Professor Chimombo and other writers even deserved to names in some of the streets in the country. May his soul rest in peace,” said Mvona.

Another veteran writer Alfred Msadala, who hailed Professor Chimombo, as one of the iconic writers in his latest book titled War Drums are Beating: Discourses of the anthill also said he was saddened by his death.

“We were so close, actually most of the times when he wrote his books, he would give me to read. And so through some of the books he gave me, I came up with a short book titled One Steve Chimombo,” said Msadala.

He said that on Friday, Professor Chimombo called him that he was in Blantyre but told him they could not meet as he was in a hurry.

“He actually brought a payment for my latest book and the next thing I heard was he is no more. I am shocked by his death because he was an icon in writing,” said Msadala.

Born on September 4, 1945, Professor Chimombo was educated at Zomba Catholic Secondary School, then at the University of Malawi where he earned his first degree.

He then went to University of Wales, in UK where he obtained a teaching diploma in English as a second language.

He then went on to obtain his masters and PhD in teaching at Columbia University in United States of America.

Professor Chimombo also studied at Leeds in England before he returned home and went on to edit a literary bulletin known as Outlook-lookout.

He was a professor of English at Chancellor College and was considered one of the nation’s leading writers.

In 1988 his Napolo Poems gained him honorable mention for the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa.

According to George, Professor Chimombo is survived by a wife, three children and four grand children.

Some of his other works include The Hyena Wears Darkness , The Bird Boy’s Song, The Wrath of Napolo, The Culture of Democracy: Language, Literature, the Arts and Politics in Malawi, Napolo and the Python, Python! Python! The Basket Girl, Wachiona Ndani? and The Rainmaker.

Chanco Travelling Theatre two months ago staged a Chichewa version of his The Rainmaker play where he was in attendance.

Professor Chimombo hailed the students then for their creativity in staging a play titled Mmatsakamula.

Mmatsakamula is a Chichewa version of Professor Chimombo’s The Rainmaker which was written in 1975 and was translated by his son Zangaphee and actor Steve Kango.

Directed by renowned playwright and drama lecturer, Smith Likongwe, the play impressed the audience in The Great Hall which included Professor Francis Moto.

“He was a prolific writer and this is why we want to make sure that we resuscitate his works. Actually with his son Zangaphe we also want to publish the Chichewa version of The Rainmaker. Again having premiered the play Mmatsakamula, we want to have a countrywide tour,” said Likongwe, who was also taught by Professor Chimombo.

He said they decided to stage the play as this was on the occasion of the 40th anniversary since the play was first produced and part of the university’s 50th anniversary.

Chimombo’s play The Rainmaker is basically a poetic elaboration of an event which looms large in the oral history of Malawi. The event in question is the rise of a separatist religious cult associated with the prophet-priest M’bona which split off from an older cult dedicated to the High God Chauta.

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