Some Malawians have joined reputable global institutions to mourn one of the topnotch scholars Malawi has ever produced, Professor Thandika Mkandawire, who died on Friday.
The fallen academician, 80, has been described by many as a true son of Africa.
Mkandawire, a Malawian accomplished scholar but with a Swedish citizenship, died at a hospital in Stockholm, Sweden, after a sudden setback following a stroke he suffered in January this year, his family confirmed.
Sipho Mkandawire, a daughter to the late Mkandawire, said in a telephone interview yesterday from Lilongwe that the family was yet to decide where and when to bury him, adding the family meeting would take place tomorrow.
She described her late dad as an amazing person, loving, caring and with great sense of humour, saying she could not imagine the world without him.
Said Sipho: “My dad, Professor Thandika Mkandawire, always taught us to be humble and respect everyone.
“He encouraged us to work hard in school. He was a very intelligent man, but humble. We pray for his soul to rest in peace.”
She said his late father is survived by a wife and eight children, but explained that he had two boys with his wife, but after the death of his two brothers, Mkandawire took responsibility of his brothers’ children, including Sipho, and it became a family of eight children.
At the time of his death, Mkandawire, who fled Malawi into exile during the one-party dictatorship of Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda under Malawi Congress Party (MCP), was a professor of African Development at the London School of Economics.
National Planning Commission chairperson Professor Richard Mkandawire (not related) said in an interview yesterday that Thandika’s death is a huge loss to Malawi and Africa in general.
He said: “Thandika was a huge reservoir of intellectual clout. He made major contribution in defining how Africa can provide leadership.
“He was totally committed to developing national capacity for African countries.”
Bright Malopa, Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority technical adviser (broadcasting), who is also former director general at Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, wrote on his Facebook page that he was saddened to hear that one of Malawi’s celebrated scholars has passed on.
“I first met him in Scotland in 2005 at the Scottish Parliament where he had been invited by the Scottish Government as a guest speaker. Before, then, I had only been hearing about him through non-Malawian friends, South Africans in particular who were fond of Thandika,” he said.
London School of Economics International Development tweeted: “He was a brilliant and creative thinker, a generator of great ideas, and, above all, a wonderful human being. We will all miss him dearly.”
The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa also paid tribute to Mkandawire on its website. He came from Euthini, Mzimba.