Nyasa Times has shortlisted 10 influential Malawians who were nominated by its readers for the prestigious ‘Person of the Year’ Award to be recognised as top heroes in 2015.
He is an ophthalmologist at Chikwawa district hospital. He has served the position for years, working hard to get many people affected by eye problems to doctors and personally operating people with trachoma.
His video done by Sight Savers has hit 5 million. Why? Rex works with almost nonexistent resources. He has a motor cycle. He lives 15km away from the hospital. He returns to his family every night late. But this amazing health worker goes 60km away at Nkumaniza or 47km away at Chapananga, sometimes using his fuel or sometimes borrowing money to go and find patients with eye challenges.
Chikwawa has highest trachoma and cataract cases in Malawi. Rex’s passion is on children as he says, for adults they may have few years of productivity, but for children is a life time of blindness. The man everyone calls adotolo amaso, represents hard working Malawian spirit, patience and love.
Each year he wishes to go to school and upgrade, but he postpones it to next year to treat more people first. Thousands of people in Chikwawa had regained sight, some after 6 years of losing it. He is an angel among those very poor and in need.
Rachel Sibande represents a new generation of young Malawian women. She is a 29 year old tech genius who is pioneering technological solutions to Malawian problems. She gave a talk at TEDxLilongwe in 2013 in which she showed how women in rural areas of Malawi are harnessing technology to transform their livelihoods through optimisation of agricultural market information.
Rachel is highly trained in very rare computer science fields of information theory, coding and cryptography. She is a fellow of the Young Africans Leadership Initiative (YALI), introduced by US president Barack Obama, and is the brains behind mHub.
MHub is a new technology incubator space where Malawian technopreneurs are nurtured and supported to develop technology start-ups. She was the lead technology expert in an elections monitoring project for the May 2014 elections that brought together 18 civil society organisations under the Malawi Electoral
This technology enabled 300,000 Malawians to verify their voter identities through their phones, and handled 88,000 messages from 4,500 polling stations across the country.
Rachel is taking this rare knowledge of 21st century technology to girls from disadvantaged backgrounds, training them to learn how to code and do lots of other very useful thing.
The teaching profession is going through its worst period, in Malawi and in many countries around the world, including wealthy, developed countries such as the United States and the United
Kingdom. Morale is at its lowest and many teachers are leaving. Not with Malawian teacher James Mitengo.
This Standard 4 teacher at Mpeni Primary School in Thyolo district is doing what very few teachers are capable of: searching for solutions to problems in Malawian education.
“He is always on the lookout for new opportunities, and has used them to connect his school with schools in other parts of the world,” said education expert and academic Dr Steve Sharra one of the people who nominated Mitengo.
Mitengo has sourced computers and Internet connectivity for his rural school in Thyolo, and has established computer lessons for his Standard 4 pupils.
He has attracted the attention of other teachers in the UK and the US, and has visited Scotland and England a number of times now where he has introduced the idea of Teaching and Learning
Using Locally Available Resources (TALULAR) to teachers there.
This is an idea that he popularised in Thyolo and surrounding districts. He is promoting international education both for his students and students in other parts of the world.
The Malawian who has built his business on back of hard work. Mike is a very unique model of Malawi businesses; he has not lost voice on speaking for indigenous businesses. He has passion and wish to see his fellow countrymen grow.
Trading as Countrywide, Mike has survived hostile political, business and social environments. He has seen business in all Malawian season. It makes him businessman of the year, as his perseverance reflects the ability of Malawians to run business and that with determination we can succeed.
He continues to inspire a new generation of business people. His continued representation as alternative voice to local business’s that includes taking on powerful banks and politicians.
Mlombwa is a reality of what needs to be done in Malawi for many to come out of poverty.
It has become inconceivable to think of Malawi’s democracy without thinking of the Malawian media. Malawi’s political class has never appreciated the fundamental aspects of democracy, but thanks to the Malawian media, some of their chicanery and shenanigans are laid bare by the Malawian media.
The one face that represents that canny ability to reveal to Malawians the mischief that the political
class are up to is Rebecca Chimjeka.
The Nation Publications Limited news analyst and former Nyasa Times investigative reporter has exposed some of the innards of how cashgate happened, and how it is still going on today.
She has penetrated high-placed corruption in the timber business implicating top government officials, and has opened up the underbelly of the politics that is holding back construction of the cancer centre.
Rebecca Chimjeka is the paragon of investigative journalism in Malawi today.
This is an institution that continues to empower thousands of Malawians. It also identified markets including exports for Malawian produce. NASFAM has grown into more than a cooperative; it is an institution that reflects determination of ordinary Malawians to change their lives.
In a country where institutions have run down or politicised, NASFAM resilience to various factors indicate a model of good cooperative governance and structure that enforces transparency. NASFAM members rarely are boggled down by loans like village banks that are reaping off the poorest.
Malawi’s only netball export to New Zealand, Mwai Kumwenda is named for her phenomenal contribution to sports, especially for being named best player at the world cup in Australia. Nyasa Times wish the Malawi Queens actually won the trophy some day. Despite their collective failure to win the cup, Mwai’s individual brilliance shines through.
Prophet Shepherd Bushiri:
Prophet Shepherd Bushiri is a prolific young prophet whom God has raised in Malawi now based in South Africa, but his voice reaches almost all the nations of the world through his international crusades and his own television channel, the Prophetic Channel.
Although it is difficult to follow up on all the possessions of ‘Major 1’ Prophet Shepherd Bushiri, we have it on reliable authority that he could very well be one of the youngest, if not the youngest, richest men of God in recent times. He possesses two private jets and it is also said that he runs several big businesses outside Malawi, including a profitable diamond business.
Bushiri pays school fees for and sustains over 70 high school and university students, some of them outside Malawi. He also financially assists many men of God and less privileged people. Talking about international ministration, the Major Prophet is always given VIP treatment in countries he goes to. He is always provided with full time police escort in many countries including South Sudan, Zambia and is given access to talk to top Government officials.
Mayor Noel Chalamanda:
Mayor of the City of Blantyre, Noel Chalamanda, is recognised for investing all his energy in trying to make Blantyre a better place.
During the investor’s conference, Chalamanda won a lot of deals for Blantyre, and it is expected that he is actively following them up to ensure that the development projects he envisages are implemented in the city.
Human rights campaigner Timothy Mtambo is recognised for being consistent in human rights activism, fearlessly. While most of the activists have gone under – enjoying the scones that have silences them – Mtambo remains amongst few activist standing.
He has been a vocal and active rights campaigner.
- Zeroes: Can Nyasa Times readers use the comment box below and name your zeros in the year 2015