Undule: Chilembwe and Sauka families suffering, honour Malawi heroes

Many Malawians have inspired and energized me, great sons and daughters of the land who sacrificed for the sake of the progress, unity and peace we are enjoying today. The likes of John Chilembwe, Michael Sauka, Henry Chipembere, Attati Mpakati, Dudunzu and Yatuta Chisiza, Lutegano Mwahimba, Alan Namoko, Bakili Muluzi, Chakufwa Chihana, Kamuzu Banda minus his human rights side and many others have been my inspiration for their great contributions to our nation.

John Chilembwe descendants with the so called house.

John Chilembwe descendants with the so called house.

Micheal Sauka Tombstone built by sympathisers.

Micheal Sauka Tombstone built by sympathisers.

The question I have always asked is how do we honour these former champions? I know this will be a point of debate. But why I am saying this. Few years ago I tried to trace the descendants of two great Malawians John Chilembwe and Michael Sauka.T his took me to Zomba and Balaka where I met the descendants and families of John Chilembwe and Michael Sauka.

My interest in the two Malawians is unquestionable. Chilembwe is the talk of Malawi, he is on our bank notes and has his special day to remember him.

For Michael Sauka I don’t know how I can describe him because his composition which is the National Anthem is sung thousands times every day in our schools, on national events, radios and TVs. Unfortuntely it seems people know more of Anthem than the man behind it.

One interest thing about the National Anthem is that what Michal Sauka prophesied is the character of Malawi and Malawians. Poverty, hunger, disease, hate, anger, jealous, evny all these are the orders of the day.

Malawians are always angry and bitter, everwhere you see faces of vengeance, their language is if I don’t have it nobody else shouldnt have it, definitely I will give you problems. To me Michael Sauka was just another unsung Prophet. May His Soul Rest in Peace.

The most unfortunate and sad things is that the nation has never been interested in tracing the descendants or families of the two great Malawians .I have never heard anywhere whether at a rally or any national event or meeting talking about John Chilembwe descendants and yet they live a miserable poor life somewhere in Zomba.

And for Michael Sauka it’s sad that while his composition is sung everyday and night nationally nobody cared building him a tombstone until two Malawians built him as an honour.

My question is how can we have John Chilembwe day, his face on bank notes, being taught in schools and yet we can’t have interest in tracing his roots? I admire this man ,how can someone in those years challenge the British? Nobody dared do that to the British Empire but we had our own John Chilembwe. He was just a rare breed missing in this modern generation as our current generation is full of traitors, pretenders , fear of sacrificing nd just waiting to enjoy the sweat of others.

Honestly if we are to genuinely honour our great sons and daughters then we need to do more than just the lip service or paper work. Just holding traditional national events, teach history about them, sing the national anthem daily while their descendants and families are in dire poverty is an insult to their national contribution.

Let the nation have a direction on how to honour former champions!

  • Undule Mwakasungula, the former director of Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and now a human rights columnist on Nyasa Times
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61 thoughts on “Undule: Chilembwe and Sauka families suffering, honour Malawi heroes”

  1. nick says:

    Yes, Undule. Malawi needs a sense of its own history but you are wrong to search for heroes. No-one will agree with your choice. People sometimes do heroic THINGS (thank God) but HEROES don’t exist in real life!
    A History of Modern Malawi, which is constantly revised by impartial scholars in the face of new evidence, is the great need in Malawi.

  2. ndadabwa says:

    a makonyola ndimu a chitsiru nchito yanu kunena mabodza mu ofesi . galu iwe

  3. Petrozee says:

    Aliyense adzadya thukutha lake. Ngati ali aulesi let them rot in their goddammed poverty. MOre over their forefathers led us to this misery we are facing nowlike cashgate, bad leaders, at least azungu adali ndi integrity tidakangoasiya azitilamulira ndikukhala part ya Great Britain osati Malawi ya moto where every leader in the past has been stealing our coffers and lave us poorer than the previus government.

  4. Petrozee says:

    Aliyense adzadya thukutha lake. Ngati ali aulesi let them rot in their goddammed poverty

  5. Mapwevupwevu says:

    I think Undule akudwala!

    Then we should also pay for Dossi and Gwanda for their laziness?

  6. Chipapwuche says:

    I consider the “sense” Undule has presented here lacking sense. Why Why should the government pay the descendants for the contributions of their forefathers? Chilembwe and Sauka were honored and we can’t afford to keep honoring them down to descendants. When Sauka composed the song,we are aware there was a competition and his emerged the best? Did he get anything? What are the descendants doing to earn a living? As for Chilembwe,I wouldn’t join those that argue that he made no contribution but rather ask for details on what he exactly did to earn our recognition. We have his face on our currency and that’s honoring him. Let the descendants live their own life. Don’t expect the government to come and build you a house,pilizi chonde

  7. joke says:

    The descendants have responsiblity to emulate from their hero and continue living the legacy by hard work to improve their lives just as their forefathers

  8. Honourable Chanamuna says:

    Kodi mmesa munthu akakuika face yako pa ndalama umalandira ka ngachepe? I thought azibale a nijoh anawapatsa kena kake kkkkkk ku SA Mandela ali pa ZAR and adadyapo ka ngachepe just to say thank u

  9. ndugumvwinya says:

    this is promoting laziness

  10. I don’t need to read the whole story, just the headline brings the whole me in agreement. I think Mr Undule, you have brought a very good subject & I urge you to do a follow up story hence you have got a platform . I think it will also be a very good idea if you to take this story alone to the print meadia as well as the radios & TV stations. The sight of the Chilembwes with the so called house as you have correctly put is disgusting. Someone whose face is on our money, really? I don’t think so, something needs to be done. The leaders we have today are not even worth to be put in the same sentence with Chilembwe.

  11. ENOCK MAZUNDA says:

    we must do something for the descendants of Rev John chilembwe,even to the families of martyrers & don’t forgetting the family of late KAMUZU BANDA for his mighty act from redeming us from…

  12. matako a pusi says:

    To the descendants of sauka and chilembwe, most of us come from extremely poor families but we worked hard to change the situations to be better even rich we did not just sit iddle waiting for handouts or cashing in on the hidtory of others

  13. peeping lizard says:

    palibe ufulu omwe chilebwe anaumenyera.anafulumira kulimbana ndiazungu nthawi isanakwane look malawi now?osauka,look zimbabwe,RSA,

  14. Patson says:

    Don’t forget the first rebellion againist the british in 1912 by the nkondes at Karonga long before John Chilembwe This rebellion hasn’t been recorded in history late Dindi. And Chakufwa knew it but did nothing

  15. Hassan Afia says:

    Thats true i agree dat we hv enjoying freedom John chilembwe’s sweat yet his relatives they are stay poor house plzz let us hv mercy for the lest people to build there Houses so that we ll celebrate our freedom otherwise God ll punish u cz of u stealing others sweat. Malawi or NYASA plzzz ndapota nanu Atsogolerinu khalani ndi mtima woyamika popeleka ulemu kwa anamalira nawonsotu amalira mukamakumbukira M bale wawo kuti ndi amene anazipeleka moyo wake kamba ka ufulu womwe tili nawo panowo plzz ngati ndalemba zotukwana nambala yanga ndi iyi mukhonza kundipeza ku khoti cz zandikhuza kwambiri ndipo ndakhonzeka kuyankha mafunso onse 0633374177 call me am waiting for u all questions.

  16. #UNDULE,ukufuna kundiwuza kut;anthuwa azilandila ndalama chifukwa chakuti abale awo kalelo anagwira ntchito yotamandika?..kodi muno mumalawi manyumba onyozeka ndi omwewa basi?…kodi patha zaka zingati CHILEMBWE & SAUKA atamwalira?…achibalewa tiziti ndi ana akhanda anasiya pawumasiye eeeti?…zowona anthu akusowa class yophuziliramo iwe nde busy zachiliza?…….kkkkkkkkkkk,ndiye kutiso ana anu azathandizidwe ndimabungwe inu mukazafa asamapitenso ku xool,siinuso mwapangako dzina pa Malawi pano

  17. matako a pusi says:

    Reading the comments undule wagwa nayo article imeneyi ge has to consider the articles he submits for publications osangoti ndine human rights activist nfiye kumangolemba mbwerera.ge has yo look at issues affecting Malawians at the moment osati about lazy descendants of chilembwe and sauka

  18. ndege says:

    The family should claim a little something for the portrait, the song etc. They should endeavor to be exemplary by being role models rather than parasites wosaphunzira wosasamba kucititsa manyazi ndi ngati kwathu.

  19. hk says:

    So you assembled all these adult men and women to have a pose against this house? Kkkkkkkkkk! This is the cheapest and laughable way of generating money! They don’t look poor, they look like any other villager actually they are looking better and they came just for a pose otherwise they have their own houses with solar electricity, TV, DVD, free to air decorders etc!

  20. hk says:

    ……..and Chilembwe was a thug, a common thief and doesn’t deserve any mention in the fight for our freedom let alone be on our money!

  21. hk says:

    Personally, I would like to thank Undule and colleague for Saukila,s tomb!This should have been the role of government. On assisting their dependants, I am not in agreement. It is their own, all our heroes suffered and and we cannot afford to be supporting dependants.they should work hard on their own to uplist their lives just like we all do.Why not ask for assistance to families of Kamuzu, Chihana, the Chisizas etc? Members of these fallen heroes uplifted themselves and they only want govt to recognize their fathers not handouts! I would propose reburial at heroes acre, naming some national monuments or feature after them, statues etc but not supporting families. Otherwise my grand father died during WWII in Brma and wud want to be supported too. Kkkkkk

  22. Press Freedom says:

    This fascination and preoccupation with history and heroes when we have many challenges today is unhealthy. Why should the Chilembwe family be our concern. Many Malawians suffered during our liberation struggles and they too deserve the recognition.

    Why should we all subsidise the failures of these families in the name of honouring our heroes. Undule if you have no agenda focus on your health and family.

  23. Chindindindi says:

    Muyambe inuyo,a Undule

  24. makonyola says:

    I wonder often times when people call Chilembwe a hero and a God fearing man. He was not! But perhaps he had been such before the uprising. Why do I say that?
    1. He masterminded the butchering of a white man, Liston, (correct me on the exact name ) and had his head cut off because he wanted to succeed through such satanic ways.
    2. H e was never a democrat, he believed in brutal usurpation of power of the day.
    3. He was a thief, he organised the stealing of guns.
    4. He was a coward, he run a way when he faced retaliation.
    5. He was very poor, and had no means of being a leader. As a leader, he ought to have been at least a well to do person, or else he was there to use the people and then enrich himself.
    6. He was tribalistic. Why is his mission up to this day concentrated in his home village or district? He concentrated there and only there and not the whole Malawi.
    7. He never had patience. Why did other people live so well with the white men? He ought to have been loyal to the order of the day.
    8. He had very little care about his own family. He ran away from it.
    9. The white people he despised are the ones who educated him in America. He was not thankful.
    10. Malawi is poor because of people like him. The white men should have been around here for sometime in order to develop the infrastructure of this country. Our neighbours are better off because they did not chase the white people in that manner.

  25. Nyani wa ku Mwananyani says:

    Bad idea.
    The descendants of our heroes should make lives for themselves, like everyone else. Through hard work; no dependence on handouts on the basis of their great great great grandfathers’ / grandmothers’ achievements. We are already trying to stop this dependency mentality.
    And tough luck if there is no inheritance.
    This is NOT, in any way, to deny the hero status of any of them.

  26. victim Chamkhuni Lwazazi says:

    Oh God! Current Malawians don’t think about the future of their country: They are destroyers, nepotists, full of tribalism, kneel to foreigners and sell their land and daughters to them and as Mwakusungula says ‘….pretenders, traitors and cheats’.
    Malawians, let’s change our mind set and think about our tomorrow Malawi.

  27. Okay? says:

    Pic of Chilembwe descendants rather misleading. Go to CZ, that group can’t be living in that house. There are several families there. In fact PIM is more advanced in all respects as compared to other parts of CZ if you did’t know.

  28. munthu wabwino says:

    Do you mean Sauka’s descendants are poor because of Sauka composed the national anthem? Chilembwe descendants are not poor because of that misguided, ill-advised and ill-fated 1915 uprising.

    How many lazy bones are we going to take care off using tax payers or donors money? Let these so called descendants fend for themselves.

  29. But not helping those lazy relative. Most of us our agogo died during that time it was not only chilembwe who fought for that. Being related to those guys doesn’t garant them to have free things from the government For example Multiparty democracy we all fought for that the Chihana’s and friends were just readers but it was us who fought we risked our life from gtantled MCP by just showing v sign and now we are surfering

  30. Mapiri says:

    Chilembwe is adequately recognised. There is Chilebwe Day, Chilembwe Highway, he’s on the currency. His relatives also named a lodge after him. There’s Chilembwe Lodge. What else do u want? U don’t assist 3th or 4th generation. These shud fend for themselves, not cash handouts. Vera Chirwa is a freedom fighter. Has been honoured in any way?

  31. John Chilembwe doesn’t deserve a tag of a hero, as his story was just cooked up and contains lots of gray areas. Simple and rightly put, the guy was a coward proper, who showed his cracked pair of feet, running away before even the Asamundas made decision to raid his HQ. He dumped his wife here and went to promiscuously marry a queue of women in Mozambique where he had a train-load of children. If there is any honouring, then it should be bestowed on the like of the Shadrek Wauchopes, the Andrew Chinyamas, the Jamalis, brave dudes who had the Symon Petro-guts to decapitate the Mzungu and went away parading a bloody white head as a trophy. As of Sauka, the dude was creative n his spirit really deserve some real accolades.

  32. Meynard says:

    Ndekuti si ma heroes. Period!! Onsewo sanapangeko skulu chifukwa chani?

  33. Taxpayer Nokia Gondwe says:

    The families indicated on the photo should work their asses 24/7 like anybody else.Waiting to make a killing out of an ancestral name will never take them anywhere.Its a tough world.You have to be ready to sweat blood for anything.

  34. Ability Lucious Power says:

    Nthawi zina mukakhala kuti mulibe zanzeru zoti mukambe ndi bwino kukhala chete. I don’t see the point of government helping heroes’ descendants. What have they done to the country as individuals? A learned man like should have realised that you are encouraging the culture of poverty. Heroes can be remembered in form of constructing national monuments in their name, osati kuwamangira nyumba ankolo awo, zidzukulu zawo, that’s useless

  35. Jack c says:

    Asatipwetekese mutu ife ngat ndiumphawi akanangonena akubanjawo

  36. clement says:

    Brother bear in mind that we need to work hard in order to earn a living.is not about fighting for freedom . ukafuna zongolandila muzafa muli aphawi!

  37. Ndatero ine says:

    Akula atha iyaa …kodi sanapite ku school? Akayambe ntchito ku limbe

  38. Reformist says:

    One thing that Malawi lacks is statues. We need parks that can tell history. As for the descendants, I am not sure what exactly Undule is proposing. There are many people in worse destitution than or comparable to descendants of Chilembwe and Sauka. Suggesting that they are more entitled to social protection is both misleading, misconceived and an imposition of a wrong moral view. Let the descendants do their patriarchs proud by working hard and rising to the level where they can take up the cause for which their patriarchs could died for in fact died for. A practical thing to do, mkamu wangu Undule, is to launch a fund raising campaign to support specific needs or a specicific situation that you are passionate or too xoncerned about. People that agree with you will support you. Local councils in Balaka and Zomba can use public money for a civic cause, a statue. Sympathisers can launch a scholarship fund in their memory,not freebies to individuals merely bbecause they are descendants. They must earn it through their own effort.

  39. Has wa a Phiri kwa Chapananga, Chikwawa says:

    Yes Undule you are quite right. Govt shud do something to the notable relatives of these national heroes. And even once in a while calls them to the State house and enjoy themselves on top of whatever govt may decide to provide them. It does not and yes does not mean anything to remember Chilembwe annually and sing the song by Alfred yet his descendants are languishing with poverty. Please pliz govt do something, Dr Chilima whom you champion the reforms in govt can you take this on board so that we shud really appreciate that indeed things have changed shape. John Chilembwe ndimantayira kamtengo akuluakulu just imagine then rising against the whites who were killing our relatives as ants yet they were working for them free on thangata basis this pains me much and John did a great job and whereever you are John rest in peace how i wished you could live until Kamuzu came and at least gave you may be a ministerial position or even becoming the president for the nation becauze you showed braveness. I will always remember you John and my prayer let one day have somebody from ur descendants lead the country.

  40. nguluwe says:

    In other countries like the US the families can trademark the names and images such that any one who wishes to use them for financial gain is required to pay royalties. That would give them control of documents etc, and be able to afford them some income. But I agree with some of the comments, though obnoxious in intent, that handouts are not the solution.

  41. chepetsani says:


  42. Souja says:

    Even allan namoko? Just work hard and fend for your kids,boma lipangira anthu angati zimenezi.Ena ndi aja amati tithandize a chakuamba for what..you mean government will help all chilembwe,sauka,namoko descendants for what?

  43. Bristol says:

    It is unfortunate for most of us for failing to understand Mr. Undule Mwakasungula. I totally agree with him. It is not help for the families on monthly basis but rather a starter pack for them. Does it really make sense to spend millions on Chilembwe Day and yet his family is in dire poverty? It is a lesson to all of us that we need to think wisely and help people when in problems. We should not look at their descendants as lazy people because it would not be a true reflection on the ground. This is the story that should encourage our leaders both in political and spiritual sphers to seriously look into for Malawi to develop. I encourage Mr. Undule to continue writing heart-touching stories and he may consider starting a foundation as someone has already commented to help people like these and certainly well wishers would support him.

  44. Denguzman says:

    Bwanji dzina la stadium tilisinthe likhale Micheal Sauka,kkk koma amulnpya angagwilizane nazo izi?

  45. Mlangizo says:

    My understanding z that it was a competition for national anthem composition and Sauka’s ssong won and was rewarded in line with de competition rules. The issue ended with the reward. The song became national property and NO need for cries.

  46. matako a pusi says:

    So my grandfather and his descendants also needs to be recognised for he fought the germans in Tanzania hahaha hahaha undule help us too

  47. Chemwali chimwene says:

    I think we can only assist the heroes and not their decendants, if we include the decendants, where do we stop? No need for this proposal nanu a Undule mwatha ma plan. Ndalama zache zichokera kuti?

  48. matako a pusi says:

    Kodi undule watani? He is raising useless topics please write on cashgate gender floods malata kwacha fall 18 fire etc these are what we want not these useless idsues and out of context of human rights thinking

  49. matako a pusi says:

    Undule has become useless and out of modern thinking Ad for Sauka or is it Saukira won a price for composing the national anthen and the obligation of the government ended upon paying the price there was no understanding thst the govt will be caring for his family immediate or futures so undule stop these ideas of misleading us otherwise find your money to assist them

  50. ngongoliwa says:

    You are useless Mwakasungula. You are jelousy homo. You have listed those who were in governance for this country in history. Those who bad record for human rights still you have mentioned them though with minus their dirty records like Kamuzu Banda. Bingu wa Muthalika did a lot in Malawi within a short period of time. Look at the Bingu stadium in LL, Bingu international conference, five star hotel, Karonga road, etc. This means Bingu had good part of records although upon your opinion you fell he had bad record. Then Undule why you have not mentioned Bingu wa Muthalika.You are a fool. Machende amako wamva. What do you want?

  51. The Star says:

    Who is John Chilembwe after all? Even his history makes very little sense, he even doesn’t deserve to be in Malawi History Books. I agree with you on Sauka. What about our young men and women in police or military who die in the line of duty? Should we also remember them in a similar fashion? With Sauka, yes it is fine. A school or a hospital even a stadium can be built and named after him because he deserves it osati Mlopwana winayo. Nkhope ili ndwi pa ndalama.

    1. Amalawi says:

      iwe, you are a true malawian .No past but greedy and corrupt.

  52. Nanyoni says:

    Why don’t you start a foundation to honour then and ask for doantion from well wishers (don’t cash gate them) and it can be used to support the families

  53. Mr Ibu says:

    Let them fend for themselves. There is no free lunch nowadays, people have to eat their own sweat.

  54. Yasin Yusuf Sanud says:

    It’s true that we as a country do contribute less in honouring our heroes.

    But it wont be wise for the descendants to wait for sweetness from sweat of others

  55. ndatopanazo says:


  56. Wiz says:

    Its true Malawi neglect its heroes citizens. But mostly those alive rather than descendants of heroes. They too have a role to contribute and make their names. These shouldnt harvest from the sweats and blood of the dead unless parents who are directly involved. Koma achemwali a chemwali awo, ankolo ankolo awo we may end draining the already scarce money at the hand of being good to heros decendants.

  57. katambala says:

    iwe usatibowe ndinyasi zako walemba apazi tell those lazy people of urs that they must work hard for the better life…..after all that useless by the name chilembwe did nothing for the country….kukaba mfuti kumandala mkumalephera kuwombera

    1. Nyabhingi says:

      May you be forgiven as you and many others dont really know that John Chilembwe was a genius and he is much respected even in pure physics books he is there. The only problem is that these things are hidden to people like you as you dont even know half his story as it was constructed by the very same colonialists and gave you to feed on lies.

  58. malawiana says:

    Undue you have run out of ideas. Are you sure if sauka did not compose national anthem what would these people be eating? We all have parents who died in the struggle for freedom in the country but we have moved on. Don’t glorify laziness because of patriarchal achievements. Some of the people in the picture are fourth generation and possibly never saw their parents and should they come up and claim something? We are already overtaxed. Get a life please

  59. Sitiriti Venda says:

    The people should also do something to uplift themselves; not just waiting for someone to do it for them while they are riding on ‘being some old public figures’ descendants. Does it mean all this years they were just sitting phwiii? In the past years we have seen people moving from rags to riches with hard work (not pity) . These descendants can do that as well unless they are so ‘disabled’ that they need someone to put food in their mouths.

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