Born on September 4 1945, Professor Steve Chimombo died on December 11 2015. But the writer still lives through his work.
The literary giant’s memorial, held on Saturday at Chancellor College’s Great Hall in Zomba, was a testimony to this.
With Chimombo’s pictures projected on a large screen in the Great Hall, the Writers’ Workshop brought together writers groups from Chancellor College, the Polytechnic and Catholic University as well as a number of seasoned writers, most of whom were Chimombo’s friends and peers.
Young writers recited their Chimombo-inspired works and some just by read the writer’s works, as others rapped their way through poems such as RIP and Galu Uyu Wandani.
Damazio Mfune, patron of the Chancellor College Writers’ Workshop, expressed appreciation for the support that saw the Great Hall three quarters full.
Renowned poet Benedicto Wokomaatani Malunga, in remembering his former lecturer, recited with zeal, while Zondiwe Mbano, Chimombo’s former colleague at the Writers’ Workshop, recited Facing Zomba Mountain which he composed on the day of Chimombo’s funeral as he viewed Zomba Mountain from Naisi.
On his part, Mufunanji Magalasi read extracts from Chimombo’s Napolo Poems with a subtext of the violent journey Napolo took as it slid down the mountain.
Alfred Msadala read a memory of their last meeting when he visited Chimombo in Zomba just before his passing.
Capping it all was Chimombo’s son, Zangaphee, who halfway through the recital, was emotionally disturbed, but recollected himself to do justice to the last reading of the night.
According to the organisers, Angali Chagwamnjira and Sharon Jumbe, the event was organised to remember the literary giant and celebrate his work.
Chimombo’ widow, Moira, his sons Alex and Zangaphee as well as their uncle Charles were in attendance.
So were some academics, writers, publishers and friends from across the country.
The three-hour fiesta lasted from 7 to 10 pm.
The memorial reminded Malawians of the writing hero who dedicated his entire life to writing.
Today, some of Chimombo’s works are used for academic purposes in some of the country’s colleges such as Chancellor College.
For example, drama students at Chancellor College use Chimombo’s play Chamdothi for practical purposes.
Magalasi noted that Chimombo needs to be celebrated because he is one of the biggest literary giants Malawi has ever had.
“Young people need to know Chimombo and his works. He brilliantly captured Malawian history, politics and narrative,” said Magalasi. n