Leaving a workplace after 31 years of service is one thing. Leaving a positive mark on colleagues is yet another thing.
Those who have known or worked with Nyokase Chibambo Madise at Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) before retiring in 1995 speak of her well lived life as the second female journalist at the State run station.
She is a testimony of humble beginnings as a Tumbuka presenter who fought her way through up to head programmes in acting capacity.
Renowned journalist Eunice Chipangula, who rubbed shoulders with Nyokase for three years, says the legend used her post to motivate fellow female journalists to have self-esteem.
“She could handle programmes in a challenging way which made me believe in myself that I would make it in electronic media and rise as a reporter,” says Chipangula.
Such is the pleasure that Nyosake has to be praised while still alive. But who is Nyokase?
She is the second female journalist to join MBC in 1964. By then, a journalist was a master of all trades as a presenter, reporter, producer and newsreader.
“We were doing on the job training,” says the 76-year-old Nyokase who did not have an education background in journalism.
Luckily, within a year of her work she was selected to undergo a six-month working-training attachment to the BBC African Service in London.
She was hosting a listener’s request programme Zunguka Zunguka which was broadcast in Central Africa.
“I was one of the few selected from other developing countries in Africa and Asia. My name listed for the potential authorities noticed in me.
“At BBC, we were trained in all aspects of broadcasting: drama, short story writing and interviews to expose and sharpen us in broadcasting,” she explains.
Her experience in London remains engrossed on her mind. Despite her old age, Nyokase recalls vividly as though life in London was just yesterday.
“I had a rare opportunity to shake hands with the then president Dr Kamuzu Banda at Africa House in London. This would not have been possible back home,” she says.
Her experience at BBC was a step forward in her career. Doors started opening.
Immediately after return, she was attached to Schools Broadcasting Unit under Ministry of Education to do programmes.
She then travelled several nations, including Germany, Senegal, Swaziland, Lesotho and Kenya, representing MBC and women at various conferences.
“I started moving up the ladders from a junior broadcaster to head programmes,” she says.
But her memorable moments at MBC is when her bosses believed in her to handle important programmes and events.
“I joined MBC as a Tumbuka presenter, but my boss believed in me and he co-opted me in other English programmes. For example, I used to host a programme called Writer’s Corner where I would interview individuals like Felix Mnthali, Jack Mapanje and Ken Lipenga.
“It was very interesting to interact with such high profile individuals who would travel all the way from Chancellor College.
“But the most memorable event is when I covered Queen Elizabeth II at a State Banquet during her visit of Malawi,” she recalls.
When she rose into management, Nyokase says she used the same privilege she had to motivate and mentor fellow female journalists to soar heights.
She says she realised the positive impact she had on individuals at the time of her retirement in 1995.
“As a manager, I had faith in women that they would achieve as much as I had done. So, I couldn’t hesitate in assigning them to important functions such as covering the Head of State.
“And, when I was retiring, I couldn’t believe the reaction of most women. They cried because, as a woman in management, I would represent them accordingly. My leaving meant that they would be voiceless,” she says.
After retiring, the hunger for broadcasting was still burning inside her such that she joined Transworld Radio on part time basis for two years in early 2000.
Outside broadcasting, Nyokase with her husband, George Madise who died in 1992, has lived a fulfilled life, educating all of her six children to a desirable level.
The children include Nyovani, a professor at Southampton University; Sunduzwayo, a lecturer at Chancellor College; Dingiswayo, a judge at the High Court; among others.
Nyokase, who hails from Mkhulu (Madise) Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Mtwalo in Mzimba, has about 40 grandchildren. n