Writers across the literary fraternity have paid tribute to legendary author, Professor Steve Chimombo, 70, who passed away at Mwaiwathu Private Hospital in Blantyre last week Friday.
The departed poet, writer and teacher, best known for his cryptic work of art, especially during the Kamuzu Banda regime, died of stroke when he went for a medical check-up at the hospital, according to relatives.
His nephew, George Chimombo, said in an interview yesterday that the remains of Chimombo will be llllllllllllowered into the grave on Tuesday at Naisi Village, Traditional Authority Malemia in Zomba.
Born on September 4 1945, Chimombo died on Friday morning at Mwaiwathu Private Hospital in Blantyre. Meanwhile, vigil is being held at 33 Old Naisi in Zomba.
Meanwhile, tributes are pouring in, with the Malawi Writers Union (Mawu) president Sambalikagwa Mvona describing the writer of Napolo Poems as one of the pioneers of Malawian writing.
He said Chimombo was one of the founding members of Mawu in 1995 where he first served as an executive member in a committee led by the late Edison Mpina.
“He is someone who lived a true life. He accomplished all he wanted to do in poetry, novel and drama. This is the reason Mawu recognised him with a legendary award in 2014,” he said.
Veteran writer Professor Felix Mnthali described Chimombo as “one of Malawi’s most distinguished writers”.
“He was a poet with a deep appreciation of the culture of his people; a writer with a unique ability to navigate his talent through our turbulent history by using myths and historical events like the sinking of the MV Viphya in 1946. Steve was a versatile writer: poet, dramatist, and novelist,” he said.
University of Malawi’s Chancellor College (Chanco) associate professor of drama Mufunanji Magalasi said Chimombo is the only one who came up with a theory for appreciating Malawian arts where he used the myth of Napolo to depict the suffering of Malawians during the Kamuzu Banda regime.
In July, Chimombo revealed to The Nation that a battle with stroke six years ago, which he survived, had cost him his writing prowess such that he could write no more.
He said the paralysing disease had killed his creative writing to call it quits to his writing career that endeared him with many beyond the corridors of Chancellor College where he served as a Professor of English Literature for decades.
Some of his offerings include: Napolo Poems, The Hyena Wears Darkness (2006), The Bird Boy’s Song (2002), The Wrath of Napolo (2000), Napolo and the Python (1994), Python! Python! An Epic Poem (1992), The Basket Girl (1990), Wachiona Ndani? (1983) and The Rainmaker (1981). n