By Sam Banda Jnr:
Malawi Writers Union (Mawu) President Sambalikagwa Mvona suggested to the government Tuesday that renowned writer Desmond Dudwa Phiri, commonly known as DD Phiri could have been honoured with a street in the country for his achievements.
DD Phiri, who died in the early hours of Sunday at Mwaiwathu Hospital in Blantyre, was laid to rest at HHI Cemetery in Blantyre yesterday afternoon.
“DD Phiri did so much for the creative industry, he trained a lot of writers. Mawu is where it is today because he was always there to guide writers as well as conduct trainings. He was very humble. He was like a dictionary to the nation and inspired a lot of writers. So why not give him the respect by naming a street to his name?” queried Mvona.
The writers’ body’s leader said it is high time the country respected creative players by honouring them when they are still alive.
“DD Phiri could have been honoured while he was alive. We have streets in the country which could have be named after him and instead we have other people named after those streets and yet they have done nothing. We have writers such as Steve Chimombo and David Rubadiri, just to name a few who could have been honoured,” he said.Advertisement
Mvona said DD Phiri was an icon, teacher and among those that, dug the history of writing and the country.
“This is why on the international scene he was honoured alongsid the likes of Chinua Achebe,” he said.
Mvona added: “Writers are great thinkers. They develop the nation and deserve respect. They need to be recognised when they are alive”.
Deputy Minister of Homeland Security Charles Mchacha, who represented President Peter Mutharika during the burial ceremony, said the issue would be looked into.
“Minister of Information Henry Mussa was there and you may wish to know that he indicated that the issue will be looked into and soon we will have a forum to discuss such issues,” Mchacha said.
A London University trained economist and historian, DD Phiri, run DD Phiri Forum in The Nation and DD Phiri Insight in The Daily Times.
In 1968, DD Phiri’s first book, The Chief’s Bride was published under Evans African plays, an imprint of Evans Brothers Limited.
He published a second play Let Us Fight for Africa in 2007 with Kachere Series.
The veteran author wrote six biographies – I See You – Clement Kadalie, Let Die For Africa – John Chilembwe, and under Malawians to Remember – Inkosi Gomani,
James Frederick Sangala, Charles Chidongo Chinula and Dunduzu Kaluli Chisiza.
He also wrote a novel titled Diniwe in Dreamland and novelettes in indigenous languages which include Mankhwala Pa Ntchito, Kanakazi Kayaya, Ku Msika Wa Vwawaka and Ulanda wa Mavunika.
His other books are From Nguni to Ngoni, History of the Tumbuka, History of Malawi to 1915, Hints to Private Students and What Achievers Teach About Success.
After retiring from the diplomatic service in 1976, DD Phiri established Aggrey Memorial School with the aim of providing effective and affordable educational courses to many Malawian students unable to study in any other way.
In his article of May 2 1995, DD Phiri, who used to walk to work, in most cases putting on his Wilson hut, spectacles and carrying an umbrella, explains more about the philosophies of Dr Aggrey after whom his school was named.
“When he was growing old, I was helping him out in some of the work. So we will see on the continuity of the Aggrey Memorial School as I cannot say much now. But on the books we will make sure that they are available and we will work with the publishers,” Kwame Phiri, his only son, said.
In September 2017, Jacaranda Cultural Centre and Maison de la France in Blantyre had a special time to celebrate DD Phiri’s life and work.
Until his death, DD Phiri was the board chairperson of Mawu.
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