Nyondo kinsmen call for respect of culture in Malawi: Controversy over burial

The burying of the president of the National Salvation Front (Nasaf) party James Mbowe Nyondo in Lilongwe has brought about some controversy as it is not clear as who ordered that burial should take place in Area 18 cemetery in Lilongwe since it has transpired that his kinsmen and traditional leaders were not amused with the arrangement.

Nyondo's children (From left to right) Munthusi,Muliska, and Pamela

Nyondo’s children (From left to right) Munthusi,Muliska, and Pamela

First to make it known that the family members were not party to the decision was the clan’s spokesperson who was identified as late James’ brother and hinted on the onset that he would not mince words on the issue around his brother’s final resting place.

He spent sometime lecturing the nation that sometimes when funerals befall a family it is wise to hold a vigil for a longer period to give room for a wider consultation and proper arrangement.

The clan spokesperson appreciated the tradition of Nigerians and other nations that keep the deceased body even for three months so that all matters are tackled including the traditional aspect, which gives them an opportunity to make inclusive decisions and faultless arrangements.

“Unlike here in Malawi where the dead are buried in the shortest time possible, our friends elsewhere give themselves ample time before they bury their relation which allows for minds to sober up and consult appropriately otherwise you end up burying people at places where they could have not been buried had patience been practiced,” bemourned the brother.

While thanking all who made it to the funeral and supported in various ways, the brother emphasized that he could not hide the disappointment of many relatives that James was buried away from his people and home.

But James’ widow Lucani, who took sometime to narrate the adult life of the deceased especially about his spiritual and family life, played down the issue saying her husband had hinted that he would never mind about his final resting place.

In her touching speech, the wife said that what was necessary was for the living to embrace a truthful life like the one James followed so that at the end of it all they should meet in God’s glory.

However her solace was short-lived as Chief Mwaulabo emphasized that the people in Chitipa were greatly disappointed with the arrangement saying everyone living in Lilongwe had a home village where that person was supposed to be taken to when dead.

“Lilongwe is a commercial city. We Malawians should remember to honour cultures and don’t come home only when you are in problems. We also need you, even your remains, so such things should be avoided at all times,” he hinted.

Reverend Nyondo, who was asked to speak on behalf of the Livingstonia Synod,  said that he could not fail to recognize what James’ brother and the chief had eluded to because it was no secret that people in his home district expected his remains to be taken to his home.

He observed that without culture, the nation is dead and therefore called upon the bereaved family to make sure that they also go home to mourn James because they had just done one part.

While thanking James’ widow for the role she played in the life of James the outspoken CCAP minister advised her to complete the good work by going to her husband’s home to complete the mourning rituals.

“Without culture we are dead, so I would remind all the bereaved members that part B is remaining, otherwise no one can can exist without a village.

“To the wife I say that one assignment is remaining; come to the Chinunkha,” he said.

The other people who spoke at the funera l-George Mnensa- representing 2014 presidential candidates, Mr. Phillip, the deceased father in law, chairperson of the Centre of Multiparty Democracy, government representative Kondwani Nakhumwa, Reverend Chidawati of the Public Affairs Committee, Nasaf secretary general, did not comment on the burial place issue.

The church service was conducted by the Chrch of Christ where the selfless Nyondo congregated, but there were represented of nearly all faith community like Bishop Joseph Bvumbwe, CCAP Nkhoma Synod general secretary.

The funeral service was also attended by people from all walks of life that included cabinet ministers, members of parliament, former state vice president Khumbo Kachali, Petra president, PPM president, Speaker of the National Assembly, Leader of Opposition in Malawi parliament, the business community, and politicians from different parties.

Missing was the country’s citizen number and two, Peter Mutharika and Saulos Chilima, respectively, who could have been embarrassed with the sentiments as the government  met some of the costs of the funeral costs and certain quarters think that the government might have bulldozed the programe.

James contested as a presidential and parliamentary candidate in the May 2014 tripartite elections as a presidential candidate for Nasfa a party he founded, and member of Chitipa central while in 2009 he stood as an independent presidential candidate.

Survived by wife and three children – daughter Pamela and sons Mulisya and Mtusi, Nyondo was known for radical political ideologies and was critical of leaders who neglected the welfare of the poor.

The US trained lawyer, a believer and development worker was born on 14 May 1968 in Chitipa,  and drew the respect of many because of his ideologies.

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34 thoughts on “Nyondo kinsmen call for respect of culture in Malawi: Controversy over burial”

  1. VYOTO says:

    Late Bingu displayed total ungratefulness and selfishness to Bakili Muluzi who handpicked him to be presidential candidate for UDF way back in 2004.Thereafter Bakili was always at either hospitals or courts.Was a late Bingu a Tumbuka? Muluzi pamene amanena kuti a ” A Malawi amayiwala nsanga amanena a Malawi ake ngati inuyo a Mtomboka, noisy for nothing”

  2. chefourpence says:

    Leave APM and the VEEP out of this! How can the govt make a decision for the clan? Was it wrong for the govt to assist? Mutha ngati wina wake if u senselessly blame the the govt. That is hate. And haters die prematurely. Why hate the God chosen?

  3. chitipa Bulls says:

    Take this point.

    Nyondo might have been born in Chitipa but he hardly was going to Chitipa. The problem was his father who did not show his children their original. home James’s father, was a medical assistant and when Nyono was selected to Dedza secondary the father was working at Nambuma Mission health centre and during holidays James was staying at Area 18 with relatives. So James was better buried in Lilingwe a place he did not know much. James was a Lilongwe person not Chitipa and these Chitipa people should stop making noise.

    When Nyongo was hoing to second schoold he even changed his surname from Nyondo to Nyundo, why did he had to change his surname when he was truely from Chitipa

    You can ask more about James from his boyhood X-girlfriend Subena Msanjama whom i met recently in South Africa.

    These people from chipta what they want is property not culture


    Avoid comparing Jando and Nsondo ndi zachitumbuka zanuzo be it funeral or otherwise. Mzimaiyo waisewera bwino. Nkhani ndi yofuna chuma kapena CHOKOLO.

  5. M'bale says:

    chonde osanyozana. one ndi chewa nkazi wanga tumbuka. we love each other. I don’t see any reason yonyoza ena. amaipa ndi munthu osati tribe.

  6. mswachi says:

    I don’t know why this should be news! A kubanja ndi amene amakoza dongosolo la mwambo wa maliro, ndi ndani angalamule kumene munthu angayikidwe koposa abale ake! Za pamtundu pawo izi, ngati sanamvane okha ife asativutitse ndi kuganiza kapena kutiyambanitsa. Amfumu ayankhula choncho chifukwa akubanja anasankha kuika maliro ku Lilongwe.

  7. nanaliwa says:

    place where one is buried speaks alittle less

  8. jamberson says:

    atumbuka sitizathekanso basi. ndipo mtundu uwu! mmmmxxxxiiiiiim kaya ine ndinakhalilanji zimenezi.

  9. kunena mosapyatila says:

    Dr matamula & your half intellectually and cultured friends. A point of correction, Rev Nyondo was not speaking on behalf of Livingstonstonia Synod but in the stead of the people of Chitipa District and the Chinunkha area where most Nyondos are based. To be specific he stood on behalf of the Nyondo clan.

    Some of you who are spitting nonsense should not take this funeral for granted. This funeral is not Chizangala kapena jando or nsondo. Reserve your tribalistic comments on other topics not this one. Instead of wasting your energy & money on castigating northerners, reserve them for sourcing funds to buy maize for the impending hunger that is going hit you and your kinsmen hard come this October.

    You should feel ashamed for backing tribes that have a zillion problems cropping up year after year with no permanent solutions.

  10. Mtomboka says:

    Beatrice ukunama. Is Chitipa not in Malawi? Anthu azikaikidwa ku Marka ku Nsanje from Mzuzu. I agree with the likes of Wakodza Pogona. Mtundu uwu wathimbilira udyo. It reminds me what a certain lady said a week ago in Zomba, when her waitress who works for her said she comes from Chitimba. The lady said in Chichewa “anthu awa ndiosayamika. Ungawachitire chabwino chomwe iwo amadziwa ndikubweza mwano basi” As if this was not enough, a certain man who is married there said the same kuti “Mtundu uwu siuyamika ayi” Surely, there should be a certain unique gene in those that dwell from Jenda and beyond. Kwa Mai osiyidwa, apatu mwaisewera bwino. Chomwe akufuna anganyawo si culture koma property grabbing. Mwateromo. Mwawatha. Mukakhala ena musapitenso kukachita mwambo kumpoto. Fans imeneyi milandu heavy ndi ufiti. Simukabwerako bwino. Ndakuchenjezanitu.

  11. kawonga says:

    tonse ndife amodzi. Tisanyozane chifukwa cha mitundu.culture imafuna nyondo to be burled in chitipa but the reasources was nt enugh to cater for transport and food staffs. Lets face reality. Off he goes just let his soul rest in eternal peace

  12. wovinidwa Ine says:

    Check out the comment by “Beatrice” @10. Makes sense.
    Tradition or no tradition, we should place more emphasis on the wishes of the individual, when it comes to matters death and after. We should specify, preferably in writing, our wishes as to where we want to be buried. Or even if we want to be cremated, and the destination of the ashes! It’s a personal wish, of course, but made with consideration of culture, and extended family and tradition. This is one way to prevent “outsiders” from interfering.
    I see absolutely nothing wrong leaving the instructions with a spouse, in this age. But mom, dad or some trusted individual, like “my uncle”, should also be acceptable. Or a “power of attorney”.
    Those of you leaving outside Malawi, have you seriously thought about this? And do you have specific instructions down pat? It’s never too early to plan for this. Just food for thought.

  13. Kadakwiza says:

    Northerners please why fighting with these lomwes, and chewas. These people they don’t have a place called home. They respest their uncle than their father. There is a proverb, they say NJOKA SIITENGA MWANA. These brothers of ours leave children everywhere because they don’t have a home. Problem is that these people stay CHIKAMWINI. A northerner is a smart guy. That is why he is hated so much. Most of the time northern children are grow up with their mother and their father together. A northerner is a smart guy.

  14. Nyenga Mako says:

    Beatrice, you are talking sense. These Tumbukas should stop being cry babies. There is no point trying to show that you loved Nyondo when you massively rejected him when he was alive. Atumbuka, chonde sinthani!

  15. Kizito Linyamula says:

    Mtumbuka 1 you are an idiot. In giving your lecture about tribes in Mpoto, you are addressing Chewas and Lhomwes. You started by demeaning Lhomwes and Chewas that they dont know tribes in Malawi yet by addressing these two tribes you have exposed your own serious lack of knowledge of the (tribes) people whom you share Malawi as home.
    I cant lecture u like pretended to do but every one knows there true Ngoniz in Ntcheu, Dedza Salima including Blantyre. There are Yaos in Blantyre, Zomba Machinga, Chiradzulu, Mangochi.
    We have in this Country Senas in the lower Shire
    Therefore your attempt to lecture us here has all the hallmarks of a fake lecturer who full of pretence, but is a dunderhead himself because these groups of people cant be heaped to gether and collectively call them CHEWA AND LHOMWE.

    1. johnM says:

      The ngonis in Ntcheu and Dedza are not true Ngonis as you put it. In Mzimba, you have real Ngonis. Look at the surnames of the people in Ntcheu and Dedza, most of them have Chewa surnames. In Mzimba, the Ngonis there have real ngoni surnames such as Jere, Nkunika, Baloyi, Dlamini, Ndlovu, Nhlane, Nhlema, Mhlanga etc..etc. In my opnion, there are more Ngonis in Mchinji, Dowa, and Ntchisi, than there are in Ntcheu and Dedza.

  16. Half breed says:

    Iwe nkhuku Chembiye stop kunyoza atumbuka apa.Samadya pakhomo pamako.Ngati watopa kuvina nyau tseka pakamwa pakopo powola.Olo mutatani mtundu wa chitumbuka simuzawukwanitsa.Inu tamangopalasani gule ndikudya makoswe ndikukhala ma tenant ma estate athu afodya.

  17. Federal lover says:

    Malawi will never develop with half wits like nyenga mako and chembiya.You can easily judge their low IQ from their cheap sentiments.Poti ndi anthu anyau tidziwakhululukira.Grasping of things is so tough for them.Probably when they stop sleeping in graveyards ndipo ndikukhala Ku chikamwini.Their thinking capacity is very questionable.Poti ndi anthu Ili nkhuku titha kugulitsa mtengo wotchipa.

  18. mwenecho wa sima says:

    Mtumbuka no1 don’t mind about these people who share the same food with cats eating makoswe.Their IQ is very low.A normal person should smear himself with faeces and dance Nyau?Ndiye alinkukonda kukhala Ku chikamwini azingollima kwa apongozi.Malawi fails to develop because of these dimwits.ii

  19. North Mpoto says:

    Thanks Mtumbuka1 for the lecturer. I’ve seen now why the northerners are selfish; there is a xenophobic breed amongst you, I think is the one that leads you to ignore other tribes- shaaa sorry for that! If federalism works surely adzizakuponderezani muchenjere!

  20. Nyenga Mako says:

    Mtumbuka 1 usatitayitse nthawi. Anthu nonse akwa Jenda and beyond ndinu Atumbuka ndipo mumayankhula chilankhulo chofanana chotchedwa Mbwenumbwenu. Ndipo ndalama yanu imatchedwa Kopara! By the way, why did your fellow Tumbukas reject James Nyondo during the 2014 elections? Olo osamusankha ndi u MP womwe olo ukhansala weniweni opanda malipiro? Mumafuna Chakwera? Simunatope nayo Kongelesi? Mtumbuka ali ndi pabwino?

  21. Wakodza Pogona says:

    Iwe Tili Chenene. The people who wanted to see James Nyondo buried in Chitipa were hardcore Tumbukas like yourself. Do you think Reverend Nyondo of Livingstonia CCAP Synod was not speaking for Tumbukas? Kutengeka Atumbuka, malirowa anali athu a Church of Christ, koma a Livingstonia CCAP Synod kutengeka nawo yaviyavi. Mwati Mtumbuka adzatheka?

  22. Beatrice says:

    Here are a few points I suspect to have contributed to his “resting” in Lilongwe, not

    – his people did not cooperate in meeting costs to transport his remains, family, mourners and friends
    – his clan did not manage to raise funds to feed the many that could have escorted him back to Chitipa
    – he (Nyondo) might have had it in his Will to rest in Lilongwe. Nothing we can do about that!
    – he may have given his “power of attorney” to his wife as a decision maker (mind you, she was his other half and soulmate)
    – Nyondo might have been the kind who did not frequent his ancestors home with his wife and young children
    – he might have known in advance that Chitipa is too far for all to escort his remains
    – may be, he had it pre planned to protect his wife and children from some traditions and customs he didn’t believe in
    – may be, Nyondo did not feel the love from chief Mwaulabo, his family and his Chitipa people while alive
    – his wife might have made the decision to save money for their young
    children than hosting the deceased kinsmen and all mourners. Maliro anadulatu abale!
    – it could be possible that his parents are long gone therefore, seeing no benefit in being welcomed by the chief and his “city siblings” as a dead man

    Anyway, either Chitipa or Area 18 cemetery, he is before God now, how about we mind our own business and let his wife and children start the touch journey without his wisdom as a dear father and husband. May the good Lord bless his young family and, allow his soul rest in eternal peace.

    1. Zidura Ntengo Undigwere says:

      Iwe Beatrice: apa ndiye wandiwaza zedi. Very well presented argument; possibilities based on what we know so far.
      The points I like best are 3 and 4, regarding specifics in a will, and the wife being given “power of attorney” by the deceased, respectively.

  23. chembiye says:

    atumbula kukonda kudandaula kwambiri. amandinyasa bwanji agalu ameneya.

  24. mtumbuka1 says:

    Can I ask chewa and lomwe people one question please? Which schools do you people actually go to????? It appears you have your own schools where they teach you that everyone in the north is a tumbuka. You people are so dull that you don’t know the history and geography of your own country. Now, let me break it down for you so you must at least learn and I’m gonna do it only once: Northern region (in chichewa is called mpoto) now mpoto has 6 districts, namely: chitipa, karonga, rumphi, mzimba, nkhata bay and likoma island! Now, karonga people most are nkhonde(s),chitipa lambya(mostly),rumphi tumbukas, mzimba ngonis(originally from south Africa), nkhata-bay tongas and Likoma is mixed Tonga and some chewa(in fact according to me likoma island was supposed to be central region as we all know it was politically changed for someone to score his political mileage, are you with me??? So automatically late nyondo ceases to be a tumbuka because he came from chitipa, so what can we call him?? Lambya( correct!!). It’s unbelievable that even old people from other regions does not know all this but ask them chinamwari and kukoma mbewa then it’s one way a 100%! This is a lecture enough I hope from Today onwards you will be able to differentiate. Nindawone mitundu ya wanthu wanonono mitu nga awa.

  25. Dr. Matamula says:

    Kodi Livingstonia Synod anthu aku mpoto mumayipopa chifukwa chani. Maliro awa anali a Church of Christ why this Synod was accorded chance to speak I dont know? Tumbukas NDALE everywhere! Eish. So you used this Synod to advance your tribalism and regionalism through Levi, GS of failed Synod?

    The issue of burrying Nyondo who is to blame? Mesa akubanja munali ndi committee to oversee smooth implementation of funeral porgram of Nyondo? Why didnt the committee be strict on where to bury James? Zachitika zatha we dont want unnecessary noise from this nagging tribes from northern region. Mxiiiii

    Mesa akutiso ku chitipa ko kulibe nyumba imene anakafikila? Same happened to maliro a late Professor James Banda waku Bunda atasowa pofikila ku Mzimba chosecho anali atamangila mahule zinyumba mu 47, Area 49 gulliver and 18. Ameneyo nde mu northener. Failing to develop his/her home ndikumakuwa kukachitika maliro coz of kosowa kokafikila nawo maliro. VERY SHAMEFUL PEOPLE ARE NORTHENERS. I REGRET HAVING MARRIED A RUMPHIAN

    1. Ezra says:

      why REGRET ? one will also regret if his/her marriage is based on lust not love.

  26. Shebex says:

    Iwe pogona iwe: wasowa chochita eti. Ambuye atakutenga msanga zingakhale bwino

  27. In the know says:

    If people of Chitipa really cared for Nyondo why didn’t they vote for him even as a Member of Parliament?Typical of Malawians always showing concern when people are dead. Shame.

  28. Petra says:

    Koma mpaka 3months osaika maliro?? Nanga bwanji president wa ku Nigeria atamwalira anaikidwa the following day??

  29. Nyachikadzi says:

    I think chief Mabulabo and relatives are fake and pretenders. If you loved Nyondo, why didn’t you vote for him to be an MP?
    Let him rest the place of his choice where his children and wife will be able to be visiting his grave

  30. Tili Chenene says:

    “Wakodza Pogona” should be insane. The story says the people of Chitipa. Are the people of Chitipa Timbukas?

    If you are sane and deliberately choose to sow seeds of hatred, may you live shorter so you don’t multiply such seeds.

  31. Wakodza Pogona says:

    Atumbuka sayamika? Why the fuss about Nyondo’s burial place? If it was really necessary for people to be buried at their home village, why did you bury Chakufwa Chihana in Mzuzu? Why did you bury Aleke Banda in Blantyre? Koma Atumbuka okha, kaya adzatheka kaya?

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