Chanco celebrates 40 years of excellence in June: Malawi home of academic freedom

Chancellor College, the country’s largest academic establishment of the four constituent colleges of the University of Malawi, will next month commemorate four decades of academic excellence and service delivery and will at the same time hold a grandiose alumni get-together at its modern day Chirunga Campus in the old colonial capital, Zomba.

According to Chancellor College, popularly known as Chanco, the college’s organising committee of the historic occasion, says the event is poised to last for three action-packed and fun-filled days and will run from Thursday June 13 through to Saturday, June 15 2013.

In a letter of invitation made available to Nyasa Times, Chairperson of the ‘2013 [email protected] Alumni reunion’ publicity sub-committee, Professor Al Mtenje writes that a group of volunteers which include staff and non staff, are organizing the event in close collaboration with the College Administration, Faculties and Departments.

Mtenje further explained that the college staff and students will get involved in the anniversary and re-union activities by organizing faculty-based displays and demonstrations and by disseminating academic information and products to the invited public.

Chancellor College Great Hall
Chancellor College Great Hall
Mwakhwawa: It will nice to walk down memory lane
Mwakhwawa: It will nice to walk down memory lane
Kankhulungo: Important celebrations
Kankhulungo: Important celebrations

“This occasion will not only celebrate four decades of knowledge generation and sharing, but will also serve as an alumni re-union which will be highlighted by networking sessions, sharing of memories of the years and moments gone by, and by engagement in entertainment and events of common interest,” reads in part the invite and signed by Professor Mtenje.

According to Mtenje all Chancellor College alumni, including those that graduated from original campuses, before the college moved to Zomba, are being warmly invited to the auspicious alumni reunion.

“While celebrating the 40 years at Chirunga Campus, Alumni and other stakeholders may wish to show their commitment to the University by creating a fund that will support student scholarships and the construction of lecture theatres and hostels on the campus,” states Mtenje.

Mtenje also divulged that on sale before and during this memorable occasion will be a special commemoration cloth, academic regalia which include Bachelor’s, Masters and PhD Gowns, Mortar Boards and Hoods and various memorabilia.


According to the main organising committee the three day event will be so tremendously unforgettable to those that will attend, for it will be chock-abloc with splendid goings-on ensuring that that the patrons to the event are entertained to the brim.

Some activities marking the propitious occasion will include; walking down the memory lane through a presentation that will display pictures from the last 40 years, a tour of the Chancellor College campus and a group photo sessions.

Also, there will be a luncheon interspaced with speeches, traditional songs, standup comedy, drama and poetry.


During the event it is expected that the Vice Chancellor of the University of Malawi, Dr Emmanuel Fabiano will give a ten minute keynote address followed by a representative of the alumni.

According the organisers, there will also be a public lecture conducted by one of Chancellor College’s eminent alumni at the close of the first day.

Nyasa Times gathers that the second day will kick start with a an open day in the college’s monumental treasure, the Great Hall, which will involve all departments and faculties where both the alumni and the invited guests will enjoy the progress of Chanco over the past four decades through a various displays from different faculties.

The pinnacle of the event’s day two will be the 40th Anniversary Alumni Fashion and an Alumni concert which will all both be held in the evening.

On the third and final day, guests and alumni will be entertained to different sporting activities and the sports day registration is expected to be handled by Chancellor College alumni sports heroes.

All the games apart from football which will be played at Chilunga grounds will be held at campus’s sports complex and includes basketball, netball and volleyball.


Chancellor College now situated at Chilunga campus in Zomba municipality opened its doors in 1973 after by the amalgamation of three colleges, namely, Chancellor College (Chichiri campus), the Institute of Public Administration at Mpemba, and the Soche Hill College of Education.

The college has maintained its legacy of providing a rich liberal arts education, which has its roots in this amalgamation, continues today and has for the last four decades produced hordes of intellectuals who have immensely contributed to the economic and social growth of the country.

Graduates from the college has over the last forty years been hired in both the public and private sector while other have held public offices and several others have served the people of Malawi as both cabinet ministers and members of parliament past and present.

Other notable faces to have passed through the corridors of Chanco and led a gallant fight against the despotic rule of Malawi’s first president Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda and the one party tyrannical MCP rule include Dr Jack Mapanje, Dr. Frank Chipasula, Dr Edge Fidelis kanyongolo  and Sam Mpasu among others.

Several lawmakers in the current parliament sitting including the incumbent speaker of Parliament Henry Chimunthu Banda and some cabinet ministers in the likes of Dr Ken Lipenga, Dr. Cornelius T. Mwalwanda Ken Kandodo, Ralph Kasambara and Catherine Gotani Hara among others are also products of Chanco.

One of Chanco’s prominent alumni and former student union leader, outspoken lawyer John Gift Mwakhwawa who led Chancellor College Students union as well as Malawi Law Society as president says  the alumni of Chanco let alone the University of Malawi has achieved tremendously in contributing towards the development of Malawi both in the private and public sector but emphasized that the Chanco alumni has let down this nation when it comes to political leadership.

“Chancellor College is in my opinion a nursery and model of democracy not just by the diversity of its curriculum but also in the manner of its election of students’ leaders through heated political campaigns that end up with policy speeches in the Great Hall.

“I am a living testimony of that democracy, having been elected on the basis of a policy speech delivered in the shadows of a hurricane and stormy campaign by two of my senior Students, who were in third year and I was in second year, promising my fellow students nothing more than the obvious green grass after the rains, and believing that I was that rain,” said Mwakhwawa.

An0ther industrious alumni, renowned former international footballer and now a human rights expert, Grant ‘Ginty’ Kankhulungo agrees with Mwakhwawa in bemoaning that many Chancellor College graduates shy away from front-line politics and thus they haven’t contributed enough politically.

“It could have been better for Chanco alumni to be involved actively in Malawian politics. Chanco is a hub of Malawian politics. If Many Chanco graduates were taking part in politics. I am sure we wouldn’t have the problem of recycling the very same people on the political landscape, for there was going to be stiff competition,”argued Kankhulungo.

Kankhulungo said looking at the history of Chanco in the last 40 years, it is evident that it is one of the institutions that have greatly helped in championing freedom in Malawi in all the four regimes with students from the institution fighting injustices.

“The problem is that once these vibrant students graduate they no longer participate in vanguard politics or fight for  anything other than sit back and work. We need more Chanco graduates in politics for more competition and do away with the erratic recycled politicians that we currently have,” said Kankhulungo who once steered ‘Varsity  football club into greater heights alongside the like of current Football Association of Malawi president Walter Nyamilandu Manda, Phillip Madinga, Henry Chibowa, Paul Mbisa, Mike Gladstone, Chiza Nyirongo and Hannock Ng’oma among others.

Very few Chanco former students have competed as presidential candidates in the country serve for Petra president, lawyer Kamuzu Chibambo and MCP’s new kid on the block, Reverend Dr. Lazarus Chakwera who is gunning for MCP’s leadership in order to stand as its torch bearer in the forthcoming May 2014 General Elections.

The organising committee says in its invite that in order for attendees to confirm their attendance to the event or seek further assistance about the occasion must do so by telephoning Mrs. Nita Chivwara on 01 524 017 or 01 524 440.

Chanco, the home of academic freedom,  the largest college of the constituent colleges of the University of Malawi and has five faculties, namely;  Humanities,  Science, Law, Social Science and Education.

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