Malawi risks burying its rich history because of negligence and lackadaisical attitude which has not spared historical and monumental structures such as houses belonging to the founding president of the Republic of Malawi late Hastings Kamuzu Banda.
This warning has been sounded by Elson Kambalu, one of the country’s artists who advocates for the promotion and preservation of cultural and historical aspects.
Kambalu made a reference of the magnificent Ngulu Ya Nawambe, a residence to the former president in Kasungu, which was idle.
“In 2012, I took a photo of Ngulu Ya Nawambe a residence to late president Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda in Kasungu. But since his death nothing is happening to that building.
“Unlike other countries that value the power of history and culture, Malawi continues to lose millions by not turning this property into some kind of museum. I will not be surprised if we shall hear that everything in this place has been vandalized,” said Kambalu.
He said if Kamuzu’s property were in private hands, still there is a need to preserve the history of Malawi.
“Being the first President on Malawi, Kamuzu Banda remains a public property for Malawi which people should celebrate his life. Therefore, all the properties he used could serve as a strong tourist destination for Malawi. Come to think of Kamuzu’s bed, library, memoirs, and memorabilia. Who is not thinking here?” argued Kambalu.
Kambalu also cited what used to be Banda’s clinic in Limbe and a house in which he was arrested in as monumental buildings that need to be preserved in the country.
According to Kambalu, when it comes to the possibilities of ‘learning from history’ there are many things that people especially children could learn from such as monumental buildings like those that Kamuzu occupied.
“When we think of well-meaning societies we think of history. But it seems Malawi does not appreciate its own history. If it does, then what are we doing about it?” he wondered.
Kambulu even took the issue of the neglected Kamuzu residence to the social media where people commented and lambasted Malawian authorities for lacking strong stand on monumental things.
The Department of Antiquities was formed in January, 1967 by an Act of Parliament with the mandate to study, preserve, conserve, and protect Malawi’s cultural and natural heritage. And Banda’s March 3 House in Blantyre is among gazetted monuments in Malawi. n