From John Village in Traditional Authority Kaduya in Phalombe comes a humble man who is not in the spotlight, but occupies a space on the list of Malawian achievers. He is Dr Jonathan Makuwira and to his name stands a story of success in writing books and academic articles. ALBERT SHARRA caught up with the academician and author to hear his story.
He has received several awards both locally and internationally. Makuwira is the first born in a family of nine. He grew up in Phalombe and his education story began at Dzenje II and continued at Mitekete, Chabuka, Naluso and Gambula primary schools. He did his secondary education at Zomba Catholic Secondary School in the old capital before training as a primary school teacher at Lilongwe Teachers Training College (LTTC) between 1981 and 1983.
Between 1983 and 1986 he taught at Mkanda Primary School. In 1989 Makuwira obtained a diploma in education from Chancellor College. This enabled him to teach at Chiradzulu Secondary School and the then Domasi Teachers Training College.
In 1990, he joined Malawi Institute of Education (MIE) where his professional career grew exponentially.
It was during his time at MIE that he obtained his bachelor of education (Hons) (1993) and master of philosophy (MPhil) (1997) both from University of Nottingham in UK.
Between April 1998 and October 1999, Makuwira worked for Congoma before his departure for Australia where he studied for a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in International Development at the University of New England.
Soon after completing his PhD, he taught peace studies at the same university. Later, he joined Central Queensland University where he lectured in comparative indigenous studies.
His doctoral thesis was “Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Participation and Partnership Building in Basic Education and Development in Malawi”.
His desire to write was influenced by fellow academician Roy Hauya. In 1986 Hauya and Makuwira co-authored a book “Basic Education in Malawi: Objectives, Problems and Perspectives”. This book was then followed by publication of a Directory of Non Governmental Organisations (1999).
Besides, he also contributed several academic papers in the field of curriculum development and education and civil society. Makuwira’s contribution to the academic field is also remarkable.
His latest book is The Moral Crusaders: Non-Governmental Development Organisations and the Poverty Reduction Agenda. He has also co-written books with other academic authors.
Makuwira says, if it were not for the World Bank scholarship to study at University of Nottingham in 1992 his journey could not have been possible.
The author has also won several academic awards.
Dr Makuwira is currently a senior lecturer in international development at RMIT University in Australia. He encourages teachers in Malawi to express themselves through writing and never stopping to chase their dreams.