While the country was still trying to come to terms with the news of the death of former Health minister and academician Professor Reverend David Mphande on Friday, it was on Saturday greeted with another shocking news of the death of renowned poet and academician Professor David Rubadiri.
According to Reverend Mezuwa Banda, a close relative to Mphande, the former minister in the Bingu administration, died at Daeyang Luke Hospital in Lilongwe.
Banda, who worked closely with Mphande while ministering in the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia, as well as in Mdawuku wa aTonga (Mwato) grouping, said he died while processing his visa to seek medical attention abroad.
“He wanted to go for medical checkup abroad, but the situation worsened in Lilongwe. So he was taken to Daeyang Luke Hospital where he died. We are very shocked as a family because he was our pillar, a father who always united the family.
“You may also need to know that he has written so much about the Tonga culture. He has written about who and what we are as Tonga people. He has left a legacy that we will forever be proud of,” he said.
Rev Banda said the remains of the late Mphande were taken to Mzuzu on Saturday, and will be taken to his home at Malaza, near Chintheche today, where he will be buried tomorrow.
Mphande, a professor of social and religious anthropology, taught at Mzuzu University and before his death, he was lecturing at University of Livingstonia’s Ekwendeni Campus.
Born in 1938, Mphande, is survived by a wife and seven children.
On the other hand, Rubadiri died just a day after celebrating his 61st anniversary in marriage.
While details of his death and funeral arrangements were still sketchy as we went to press, Bishop Fanuel Emmanuel Magangani of the Anglican Diocese of the Northern Malawi, who officiated the celebration, said the church and the country have lost a pillar.
“If you talk of humility, then you have to mention Professor Rubadiri.
“This is a man who was very well educated, served in various portifolios, but still remained closer to God.
“Imagine that just on Friday,
he had stayed 61 years in marriage, this is a person we have to learn from. Modern marriages don’t last that long,” he said.
Registrar of the Universiry of Malawi (Unima), Benedicto Okomaatani Malunga described the late poet as a principled and capable leader.
“His death has shattered all of us in Unima because he was one of the finest vice-chancellor’s we have ever had. A man with multifaceted talent, a consumate scholar, a capable leader, a refined diplomat, a principled man, a patriot with remarkable achievement.
“He was a global citizen who represented Malawi as its first United Nations representative and mentored a lot of young men and women in universities in Nigeria at the invitation of Wole Soyinka to help introduce a masters degree in literature, at Makerere, at University of Nairobi and Botswana,” he said.
According to www.poemhunter.com Rubadiri attended King’s College, Budo in Uganda from 1941-1950, then Makerere University from 1952-1956, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and History.
He went on to the University of Bristol from 1956-1960, where he received a master of Arts degree in English Literature.
At independence in 1964, Rubadiri was appointed Malawi’s first ambassador to the United States and the United Nations.
Born on July 19 1930, Rubadiri published various poetry books and novels, including No Bride Price.