Malawi’s leading and multi-award winning online news source, Nyasa Times on Saturday night celebrated its iconic 10 years of existence and service in style with pomp and grandeur amid promises of soldering on with an extra bravado vowing to continue powering on serving Malawians at home and in the Diaspora without fear or favour.
Hundreds of guests, including the country’s only surviving freedom fighter of Malawi’s democracy Ahmed Dassu, who together with the late Chakufwa Chihana fought Kamuzu Banda’s 31-year autocratic rule attended the sumptuous Dinner and Dance which was held at Hilton Hotel in Leeds.
Dassu, who is now based in UK, was among a group of Malawians including the late Chakufwa Chihana, the late Mayinga Mkandawire, late Mapopa Chipeta and others who in 1992 ganged up and formed a pressure group to fight and eventually oust despot Kamuzu Banda and his Malawi Congress Party an insurgency that led to a referendum a year later for Malawians to choose between one party state and multiparty democracy.
In his keynote address Nyasa Times Managing Director Edgar Chibaka thanked Malawians and all stakeholders for the unflinching support over the last decade, saying it has not been an easy road to operate under oppressive regimes and journalistic harsh working conditions but it has been possible because of the immense support the publication receive from people across the globe made it possible.
“Tonight, we are celebrating 10 years of excellence, a milestone to our beloved country and beyond the media world, because of the support we have received from you, our esteemed readers from all over the world, over the last decade. It has never been easy but your support powered us on and we will keep on fighting for excellence to keep our people well informed,” said Chibaka.
Added Chibaka: “We pay tribute to our vigilant and brave reporters in Malawi who for the last ten years have given it all 24/7 to keep Malawians informed. It has been hard for us to operate efficiently such under harsh conditions from the intolerant regimes but we have worked so hard to inform the masses without fear or favour and we will continue to do so.”
Chibaka explained that in the last ten years there have been so many impediments and threats from powers that be but Nyasa Times and its courageous team of reporters has not been cowed by such coercion and intimidation because he said Nyasa Times exists not to serve politicians but the people of Malawi.
Said Chibaka: “I would like to express my gratitude our partners, all the stakeholders and above all else our readers for being there for us all the time. I would like to express my thanks to those of you who have joined us for an evening of celebration to mark our 10th year in business. I would also like to extend our thanks to those not with us on the evening but who have helped us in reaching this milestone.”
As the night unfolded, toasts were made to those who have supported the country’s leading and trend setting online news source us over the years. A decade that saw one of the most challenging economic climates in living memory and radical changes to the media sector; not the calm waters on which anyone would have liked to be navigating.
But despite the harsh media climate, Nyasa Times has grown beyond measure to offer a broader range of modern digital media and journalistic services to Malawians both at home and abroad.
In his remarks Nyasa Times editorial director Thom Twee Chiumia said: “The road to this far has been both challenging and exciting. From our humble beginning, we have evolved into a fully-fledged and most reliable news website with a high rate accuracy and timeliness in our reporting.”
He paid tribute to Nyasa Times news gathering team inMalawi, its columnists and also posthumously to Raphael Tenthani, Ulemu Teputepu and Chinyeke Tembo.
“We are also deeply indebted to our reliable news sources in government, the private sector, religious establishments, the civil society, the diplomatic circles and many more,” said Chiumia, adding “over the years Nyasa Times has built a strong working relationship with these sources and we hope to strengthen this relationship in future as we strive to serve our readers much better.”
Chiumia pledged that Nyasa Times will continue to serve Malawians “with utmost zeal and dedication with a view to positively contribute to our society’s social, economic and political development. It is only when people are well informed that they can also make informed choices and decision.”
‘Tones of Gratitude’
During the event, UK-based Malawian philanthropist, Mary Woodworth founder and director of a Friends of Mulanje (FOMO) and Freedom fighter Ahmed Dassu were given recognition awards for their respective contributions to humanity in Malawi.
Accepting the award, Dassu thanked Nyasa Times for recognising him for his role in helping to bring democracy to Malawi saying he was honoured and humbled for the special recognition.
“I feel very flattered for this great honour. I am so pleased that Nyasa Times continue to play a critical role in upholding the democracy that I and others fought for so hard. In the last decade Nyasa Times has been the voice of the voiceless and played a big role in keeping both the government and the opposition in check,” said a visibly delighted Dassu.
On her part, Woodworth thanked Nyasa Times for the great job it has been doing for the last ten years and hoped that the online publication will continue to be the country’s credible news source to Malawians in Malawi and abroad.
“I say thank you to Nyasa Times for the honour. Your contribution cannot be overemphasised. I hope you will continue serving the people of Malawi without fear or favour,” she said.
Speaking earlier on Nyasa Times associate-editor Peter Makossah thanked Malawians for believing in Nyasa Times’ philosophy saying the publication exists solely to serve the interests of Malawians because it is owned not by politicians but the ordinary Malawian citizens.
“We would like to thank you all for your support and for standing with us all the time. We exist to serve you and you the readers are the owners of Nyasa Times,” said Makossah.
Makossah however said it has not been easy road and said they owed it to their families especially their wives Stella Chibaka, Natasha Twee and Elizabeth for supporting them behind the scenes working 24 hours a day, seven days a week all year round around the clock sacrificing family time ensuring that Nyasa Times is in operation 24/7.
“I would like to pay tribute to our beautiful wives (Mrs Chibaka, Mrs Twee and Mrs Makossah) for supporting us through the years as we work to make Nyasa Times what it has become today. I give these ladies tonnes of gratitude for their understanding. These women are strong for they tolerate and take a lot as we sacrifice our family time working on Nyasa Time because they understand that we do it for our country, Malawi. If these women weren’t strong enough, they would have left us by now and we would have been unmarried by now,” said Makossah.
Makossah conveyed congratulatory messages of good will from the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Malawian president Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika, former presidents Dr Bakili Muluzi, Joyce Banda and leader of opposition Dr Lazarus Chakwera. Other messages of goodwill came from International Committee of Journalists, renowned Malawian scholars; Dr Malawi Ngwira from Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, Dr. Mapopa Sanga, an associate professor at Southwestern University in Oklahoma, USA, Sunduzwayo Madise popularly known as ‘Mfundisi’ of University of Malawi’s Chancellor College but currently in the UK for his PhD studies at Warwick University among many others.
The red carpet event which kick-started with the Malawian National was well organised and the food was as delicious as was the entertainment. It was action-packed.
Sembe Gondwe opened the floor with his poem aptly titled ‘Nyasa Times’ which send the hall into a frenzy for its sweet message and heart-capturing rhyming words. Then came Langa Ndovi, former Boyz Lazy band member who later became a duo with Jeff Kaira and performed the hit single Mundiunikile which sent the patrons into an uproarious mood for the shindig.
Langa Ndovi put the audience into a nostalgic drive as played Mundiunikile in a reggae version and everybody sang along and boogied out the adrenaline of their wanting bodies. It was epic and iconic.
Malawian fashion designer Sheila Banda – Tobie showcased her designs and works of art with women wearing her traditional attire and strutting it with a catwalk and the audience clapped hands in appreciation of her beautiful attires. It was a fashion show par excellence.
Director of ceremonies James Woods Mkhutabasa was excellent in his delivery and made the event ‘so professional’ as he was always on point.
On the spinning decks, Manchester based Hannington Gondwe aka DJ Honey G and DJ Macky Mackie were interchangeably on fire ‘gyrating’ the hottest and ear-pleasing tunes and that is not all the crowning moment came when Nyasa Vibes Band took to the stage with a live performance and dished out tunes from Malawi’s ladies hit song of the moment Tsika down to memory lane with Matafale’s Timba and Kaphiri kwa Kwathu.
Chawezi Banda, daughter of Malawi’s legendary Malawi Media and politician and founder of Malawi News (then Mtendere pa Ntchito), MBC and The Nation, the late Aleke Kadonaphani Banda, who came all the way the United States for the event told Nyasa Times in an interview that she was impressed with the event and wished Nyasa Times a long life in business saying Nyasa Times is the only credible source of news for Malawians abroad.
“I came all the way from the US for this event and I am glad I did. Everything was on point. I congratulate Nyasa Times for the milestone and wish them all the good luck as they sojourn into the future. I have had a great time here and I will take with me sweet memories back to the US,” said Banda.
Nyasa Times also recognised entreprenuer Jamal Kazim of First Response who has been supporting the publication and Malawians in UK.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :