Owen Khamula – Nyasa Times
Malawians on Tuesday gave a hearty farewell to the king of comedy, John Nyanga popularly known as Izeki and braved the chilling weather in Blantyre to fill the Kamuzu Stadium for his funeral ceremony.
Nyanga failed as a politician in elections on United Democratic Front (UDF) as councillor and a member of parliament in Ndirande but proved to be the best stand up comedian Malawi has ever had.
Thousands upon thousands filled the Kamuzu Stadium both in the covered stands and open stands, proving that Nyanga was not just an ordinary Malawian but a Malawian would remember forever.
The body took over an hour to be taken from Kamuzu Stadium to HHI cemetery, his lasting resting place because of thousands upon thousands of people who lined up the way to bid farewell to Nyanga who entertained Malawians as a comedian for four decades.
Conspicuously missing at the funeral service was President Peter Mutharika who has official engagements in the north and United Democratic Front (UDF) a party Nyanga belonged to was represented by party secretary general Kandi Padambo while former president who arrived the same day from South Africa reportedly assisted in financial kind to run the funeral program.
Minister of Sports and Culture Grace Chiume represented the government and Mutharika at the funeral whilst hundreds of actors and actresses escorted Nyanga to his last resting place at HHI.
Group Village Headman Makata of Ndirande received a rare standing ovation at the funeral service when he asked Malawians to avoid using the social media.
“My brother resting here has been killed over five times on Facebook and Whatsapp. If you are drunk or have abused something, please stop creating deaths of other people,” said the traditional leader.
Just as in life,Nyanga had also a comedy in death as his wife, whom he had separated for close to three years, was on his coffin and was declared chief mourner. And the Catholic Church he had discarded, made his requiem mass at the funeral as opposed to his church he had formed just earlier to his death.
The mnister, Chiumia, said President Mutharika had provided K200, 000 for the funeral and said he was saddened with the death although he could not make it for the funeral service due to official duties.
Chiumia said Nyanga’s comedies and drama showed great talent in him and the country would lose his services.
A representative of Joy Radio, Lloyd Zawanda said the radio station drafted in Nyanga because of his talent, saying research showed listenership of the radio grew rapidly after he started his programs on the radio.
Willie Zingani, represented actors and actresses at the funeral.
He said he knew Nyanga in the 1980s when his book Madzi Akataika was adapted for a play of Kwathu where Nyanga played a pivotal acting role.
Malawian comedians, led by his best friend Eric Mabedi, placed flowers on the grave.
Nyanga’s grave was not far away to gospel female artist Grace Chinga , who was buried at the cemetery some months ago.
Other notable faces included Michael Usi aka Manganya, Bon Kalindo, Lucius Banda, Black Missionaries and MP for Ndirande Aaron Sangala. He is survived by the wife and three children.
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