Author Steve Chimombo dies aged 70, tributes pour in

One of Malawi’s most famous writers, Professor Emeritus Steve Chimombo has died aged 70.

Chimombo: Dies

Chimombo: Dies

The academic-turned-writer reportedly died after he succumbed to stroke.

A Poet, fiction writer, playwright, and children’s author, Chimombo was born in 1945 in Zomba.

He went to Zomba Catholic Secondary School, then at the University of Malawi where he earned a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and the University of Wales, the University of Leeds, and Columbia University.

At Columbia University in the United States, he was awarded his M.A. and Ph.D. in teaching.

Chimombo is well known for harnessing the myths of napolo to portray the suffering of Malawians during the one-party regime of Kamuzu Banda whose government was notorious for detaining and exiling of artists.

Legend associated napolo, a mythical serpent that lives under mountains, with devastating disasters such as landslides, earthquakes and floods.

His poetry book got an honorary mention for the Noma Award for publishing in Africa in 1988.

He published over 29 books in form of poems, novels, plays and anthologies.

Apart from Napolo Poems, his offerings include The Hyena Wears Darkness (2006), The Bird Boy’s Song (2002), Wrath of Napolo (2000), Napolo and the Python (1994), Python! Python! An Epic Poem(1992), The Basket Girl (1990), Wachiona Ndani? (1983) and The Rainmaker (1981).

Several local writers have paid tribute to Chimombo.

Steve Sharra has said Malawi had lost “her finest writer.”

Benedict Okomaatani Malunga said Chimombo death is “devastating news.”

He said Chimombo was “a man of deep intellect and principle.”

Writing on his Facebook, Stanley Onjezani Kenani said:”What a loss to the nation! Except J.W. Gwengwe, D.D. Phiri, Jack Mapanje and Francis Chipasula, I cannot think of any Malawian who has contributed more to Malawian literature than Prof. Chimombo.”

Nyasa Times editorial director, Thom Chiumia, said he knew Chimombo in Zomba where they were all residing for a long time and that  he inspired him into writing.

“Prof Steve Chimombo inspired me into writing. He had a magazine which he encouraged me to be a contributor and also supported our young writers group which members  included Pachalo Kayira. He was a wise mentor,” said Chiumia.

“He will be so sadly missed. My thoughts are with his family.”

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jona mtowa

I used to type Wasi scripts 4 u. U always corrected ma pronounciation. I learnt alot from u. We met 2 weeks ago at the main gate of ur market u greeted me as usual. Akumphasa ala bwanji meaning ma wife. I think it was byee

Gerald kamkangadza

May his soul rest in peace

matthew c. o phiri

‘kaleidoscopic swirl’ in the story “Go Back To Your Room’ is what I vividly remember him fall. At your service oh God!


How he managed to nyanjanize wife Moira – amazing!!. Rest in peace great man.

M Sizini

‘Taken’ – much too soon!

Thitherward 'wendo

A giant of our dwindling forest has come crashing down. We have lost a great writer, a great man, and a great soul. May Jesus grant consolation to Moira and their family.


Steve; you led a life worth celebrating. Your legacy lives on


Let his soul rest in enternal peace

Keen Observer

Rest In Peace genius.

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