One of Malawi’s finest poets, Professor Steve Chimombo, passed away after a short illness on Friday at Mwaiwathu Private Hospital in Blantyre, his family have confirmed.
His nephew, George Chimombo, said the prolific writer, teacher and poet died at the hospital where he had gone for a medical check-up.
“His death has been very sudden to us because he merely went there to have medical check-ups. As a family, we’ve lost a pillar, a great figure who flew the Chimombo flag,” said George in a telephone interview.
Writing on his Facebook page, writer and renowned literary icon Stanley Onjezani Kenani described the death as “a loss to the nation.”
Kenani said except for John W. Gwengwe, Denis Dudwa (alias DD) Phiri, Jack Mapanje and Francis Chipasula, he could not think of any Malawian who has contributed more to Malawian literature than Chimombo.
“He was a friend with whom I had long telephone conversations, whose poetry, especially The Viphya, I enjoyed immensely. Prof. Chimombo may not have been well known beyond our borders, but in our country, he was an icon.
“In the mid to late 1990s, his Wasi Magazine was a major hit that helped to launch many new voices while according established writers a platform of note. Malawi has lost. Earth, receive an honoured guest,” said Kenani.
Chimombo will be laid to rest at Naisi Village in Zomba at a date yet to be announced.
Born on September 4 1945, Chimombo was a lecturer in the Department of English at Chancellor College, University of Malawi until his retirement in 2002.
The award-winning author published extensively, some of whose major works include The Wrath of Napolo, The Culture of Democracy: Language, Literature, the Arts and Politics in Malawi 1992-94, Python! Python! An Epic Poem, Napolo Poems, The Basket Girl, Wachiona Ndani? and The Rainmaker. n