The media fraternity is mourning the loss of a veteran and versatile media practitioner Dr Tikhala Chibwana, who died on Sunday after a short illness.
The late Chibwana was among other things, a journalist, a media trainer and media manager.
Reacting to the news, Nation Publications Limited (NPL) deputy chief executive officer Alfred Ntonga described the death of Chibwana as loss of a mentor who led by example.
“He was easy to work with, a team player, humble and hard working. He was a senior reporter while I was just a cub reporter. He mentored me and helped a lot. I will surely miss him.
“What he has achieved in his life speaks for itself about the kind of man that he was,” said Ntonga, who first worked with Chibwana at The Daily Times in 1987.
Ntonga said the media will miss Chibwana for his contribution as a mentor of female journalists through his last project called Women In News (WIN) leadership programme run by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-Ifra) where he led in mentoring female journalists in management.
In a separate interview, Times Group managing director Leonard Chikadya said Chibwana has left a legacy of humility and hard work.
“In one word, I can describe the late Chibwana as a team player. He was a good manager and mentored so many journalists,” he said.
Chikadya said his relationship with Chibwana started at Ntcheu Secondary School where they both studied, adding the uniqueness of the deceased lied in his ability to master many trades.
On her part, WIN East and Central Africa project manager Tamala Chirwa, who worked with Chibwana till his death at WAN-Ifra, described him as an effective and impactful leader.
Her sentiments were echoed by Melanie Walker, WAN-Ifra executive director for media development and WIN, who in a statement described Chibwana as a champion of gender equality who brought together dozens of media companies throughout southern and East Central Africa in the collective pursuit of achieving greater diversity and operational excellence within media organisations.
“During his five-year tenure as head of WAN-Ifra Women in News Africa, Dr. T, as he was fondly referred to, inspired and motivated hundreds of journalists to take on greater leadership roles in the industry,” she said.
In a statement issued yesterday, Media Institute for Southern Africa (Misa)-Malawi Chapter chairperson Teresa Ndanga said the media had lost a source of knowledge and experience.
One of the female journalists Chibwana mentored, Suzgo Khunga, said women in the media have lost a man who had a unique understanding of the challenges that female journalists face.
Chibwana’s remains will be laid to rest today in Lilongwe.
Among other positions, he worked as a journalist and editor in the 1980s at Blantyre Newspapers Limited, a human resources manager responsible for training at Sunbird Hotels and Resort, director for Malawi Environmental Endowment Trust and later general manager for Times Media Group.
The late Chibwana was until his death a trustee of Misa Regional Secretariat and Africa director for WAN-Ifra-WIN Africa.