The body of Mama Mbumba Margaret Banda, widow to politician Aleke Banda, was laid to rest yesterday at the family’s compound in Chirimba, Blantyre.
In their eulogies, various speakers described Mbumba Banda Snr as a generous woman who opened the doors of her house to all regardless of their social status.
Malawi Congress Party director of strategic planning Kenneth Zikhale Ng’oma, who represented President Lazarus Chakwera, said the President is saddened by the death of Mama Banda.
“The President remembers the day he visited her at Tukombo and planted a tree [at the family’s compound]. He told me that he is touched, and he is saddened by her death,” he said.
Mama Banda’s grandchildren Shakira and Khrishna Achuthan Jnr fought back tears as they described the love that their grandmother showered them, the family and the community at large.
Said Khrishna Jnr: “I will always remember grandma for the unconditional love she had for everyone. She made her home welcome to everyone.”
Shakira also recalled the jokes their grandmother shared from time to time. She also said she will remember her for the virtues she imparted to those that she raised.
“She taught us that hard work pays and that there is joy in giving. Grandma was a pillar and backbone of the family.”
In his virtual address, Mama Banda’s son Thoko who is not in the country praised his mother for participating in the struggle for the country’s independence and her desire to be part of the solution.
“She taught us that it is useless just to complain. It is better that you actively fix what is broken,” he said.
Nation Publications Limited (NPL) deputy chief executive officer Alfred Ntonga said Mama Banda and the late Aleke Banda focused on futuristic ideas when they established the media firm in 1993.
“While we talk about job creation today, AKB and MMB—as Aleke Banda and his wife were fondly called—started silently and established Nation Publications Limited with eight people. Now NPL has 260 employees,” he said.
Ntonga noted that children and extended families of NPL employees have greatly benefitted from an entity that the couple created.
Ntonga further said Mama Banda’s departure has left those that depended on her counsel and love without a shelter.
Her love was also illustrated by evangelist Mlacheta who the Bandas raised in the 1960s.
“Everyone who would come to Blantyre would spend the night at her house. She would not allow anyone to go home without being served food. And it was good food,” she said.
In his eulogy, Church of Church of Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Blantyre Synod general secretary Reverend Billy Gama underscored Mama Banda’s Christian virtues and how she requested then Inspector General Mac Kamwana to allow her to deliver a blanket and a Bible to Aleke Banda when he was imprisoned in the 1980s.
Reverend Gama said Mama Banda’s death “is not time to mourn, but time to celebrate her life.”
The format of the funeral service set the celebratory tone for her 83-years of existence that touched many.
Gospel music outfit Ndirande Anglican Voices put up a heart-warming performance before and during the funeral that saw some family members stepping forward to dance to the comforting tunes.
Singing Tonga dirges Mdauku wa Atonga members also added pomp and serenity to the funeral service.
Mama Banda was born Mbumba Margaret Kahumbe on October 11, 1938.
In her youthful days she participated in the fight for independence from British rule.
She was also involved in church activities including being a member of the Women’s Guild of the CCAP.
Mama Banda is survived by children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.