Veteran Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) journalist Akimu Kaingana suffered a sudden asthma attack, collapsed and died on his way to Kamuzu Central Hospital on Friday in Lilongwe and was laid to rest at Daniele Village in Chilaweni in Blantyre on Saturday.
Minister of Information Mark Botomani, Information Principal Secretary Dr. Esmie Kainja, MBC Director General Aubrey Sumbuleta and a horde of journalists bid farewell to the veteran scribe.
The journalists included veterans Wallace Mposa, Raphael Chikwakwa, Aubrey Mchulu, Pilirani Kachinziri, Rex Chikoko, Sangwani Mwafulirwa, Frederick Ndala, Frank Phiri, Walipo Makhala, Ephraim Munthali and many others, who acted as his pall bearers.
Botomani described the 49-year-old Kaingana as a dedicated and hard working journalist, who made positive contribution to national development through his writings.
“In Kaingana, the country’s media industry has lost a great asset. Words alone cannot fully describe his real character and all we can say is that we should feel grateful to have worked alongside him,” he said.
The Nation Publication’s Rex Chikoko, who worked with Kaingana for a long time whilst at The Times Group (then Blantyre Newspapers at Malawi News) said he was deeply saddened to part ways with Kaingana in such a sudden manner.
“He was such a great workmate with an admirable peaceful character. I will truly miss him,” he said.
Touching were eulogies were made from PS Kainja, Sumbuleta while that from the family described Kaingana as ‘Mzati’ (cornerstone), whose wisdom, material and moral support shall be greatly missed by the whole clansmen.
“We don’t know how to grasp this reality. His last words as he was nearing the hospital were: ‘I have failed. God forgive me’.”
After leaving The Times Group, he joined MBC where he was stationed in Mangochi for 13 years and was later relocated to Lilongwe three years ago and earned several nicknames such as Prince of Zamunda, Nyau Siphenira and Staccato.
On his Facebook profile page, journalist Bright Sonani, who also worked with Kaingana at MBC, said: “Death is cruel. Very cruel. It’s a tradition that we say all the good things about the dead. But I will say this with utmost conviction — Akimu was a gentleman. He was a humble person. A down-to-earth character.
“In a place where people focus more on your weakness, it was soothing to hear someone talk about your strength. This was Akimu. He was never in a business of making people feel ‘small’ but making everyone feel ‘important’.”
Luntha Chalira wrote: “Many have said but allow me to repeat the same that Akimu was not a mere person in the media circles. I will personally remember Akimu as someone who did a massive role in my journalism career back then in Mangochi.
“I met Akimu for the first time when he called me to his office in Mangochi where he was working as Bureau Chief for MBC. I didn’t know what he was calling me for until he said he had read a monthly newsletter which I and fellow budding writers in the district were producing covering issues concerning youths in the district.
“With his background knowledge from BNL where he had worked before, he helped us to improve it and the newsletter started looking mature and attractive and in turn it received massive support from other stakeholders in the district.”
Chalira said Akimu was later elected chairman of Mangochi Press Club back then in 2008 and under his leadership, with him as his vice-secretary, they had a vibrant Press Club which had accomplished many strides.
William Zare wrote: “Akimu Kaingana, just yesterday evening we were together at the office but you never complained of any illness when we parted around 5pm only to hear this morning you are no more. I didn’t believe it till I saw your lifeless body being escorted to the mortuary at KCH.
“I am heart broken, I am down and speechless, I’ve lost a brother, a friend and colleague in the profession. A mentor and an inspiration to many. You lived a selfless life, always there for others but now you have led the way for which we shall follow.
The funeral service was conducted by St. James Chilaweni Catholic Church in conjunction with St. John Bosco Catholic Church of Lilongwe where he also prayed.
Born on 24 May, 1970, he is survived by a wife and three children.
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