Low key attendance characterise Chilembwe Day, Mutharika misses: Martyr of Malawi nationalism

President Peter Mutharika conspicously missed from the annual high profile commemoration of martyr Reverend John Chilembwe, an aggressive young freedom fighter killed by white colonialists 101 years ago.

Goodall Gondwe and Muluzi at PIM

Goodall Gondwe and Muluzi at PIM

Goodall paying respect to Chilembwe

Goodall paying respect to Chilembwe

Bakili Muluzi laid his wreath of tribute to Chilembwe

Bakili Muluzi laid his wreath of tribute to Chilembwe

Mutharika was represented at the function  in Chiradzulu at Providence Industrial Mission, the headquarters of Chilembwe uprising by Finance minister Goodall Gondwe who is also vice president for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party for the north.

It is not yet known why Mutharika failed to attend the church service in memory of Chilembwe whose uprising inspired many to rise against the white oppression.

Vice president Saulos Chilima was also not in attendance.

However, the service was attended by cabinet ministers Henry Mussa, Joseph Mwanamvekha and Grace Chiumia and former president Bakili Muluzi.

The theme of the commemoration was rise and shine and preachers read from the Book of Isiaih.

PIM president Reverend Patrick Makondetsa delivered a moving sermon, challenging Malawians to commit themselves to progress, thereby bringing the country to light.


Rev Makondetsa read from the book of Isaiah 60:1-3 and John 8:12 and titled his sermon ‘Arise and Shine as a Nation’in which he called for unity of purpose among Malawians, and respect for leadersas well as  citizenry to be hard working just as Chilembwe  in order to develop Malawi.

“ I look at you, I must not say I am looking at a Christian or a Muslim; I must not say that am looking at a Tumbuka, Lhomwe or Yao, we must look at each other as Malawians, we must all rise and shine to develop this country,!” he said.

“We may not like the President [Peter Mutharika] as a person, but God has put him in that position, and we must respect the presidency. In the same way, God has given us Dr Lazarus Chakwera as leader of opposition, let us respect whatever he say because it is God that has out him there,” he said attracting ululation.

Finance Minister Gondwe admitted that Malawi is facing huge challenges, he said: “The question is, why are we not developed? That is the question that people like John Chilembwe would be posing to us. Why if we have so many people, so many things around us, why don’t we have the confidence that we can do it?

“Success will depend upon us deciding to succeed . There is darkness at the moment, and as the President [Makondetsa] has promised, there will light at the end of the tunnel, and I am absolutely confident that Malawi shall succeed.”

Prior to the church service, government and church officials laid wreaths at the memorial pillar which has names of those who died with Chilembwe in the haste and disorganised uprising in 1915 but had a positive bearing of subsquent uprisings that finally toppled the white colonial rule.

Also missing at the service this year was Leader of opposition in Parliament Lazarus Chakwera, speaker Richard Msowoya and United Democratic Front president Atupele Muluzi who had their names on the list of official guests at the function.

In 2015, a dozen presidential candidates graced the occasion.

Outside PIM, life was normal except for the mid January holiday with usual power black outs in some areas and dry water taps in other areas.

To the new generation, Chilembwe is becoming more irrelevant to them and the absence of high profile personalities at the service can testify this fear.

Born in 1871, Chilembwe attended Virginia Theological Seminary and College in the United States of America (USA) and returned to Malawi around 1901 (after being ordained as a Baptist minister) to establish the Providence Industrial Mission (PIM) in Chiradzulu district.

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Its even difficult for me to comment on john chilembwe,because what he did seems to be very uncounterble for their south Malawi.A country full of racism and corruption.pumbavu


izo ayamba a Henry Mussa zovala cjipewa ndiye ndi za u Savage mapeto.

Chilembwe had such a pulsating personality that he created hatred, a cracked mind, and delusion against the colonial settlers in his home area. He had misanthropic beliefs against British colonial representatives like Liston especially. Chilembwe’s cause was more revolutionary than a behavioral episodal exaggeration. He solicited revolt with an aim to concur and protect the homeland, but with no justification for butchering who inhabited the land he felt was seized from the locals. His was a protectionist ideology that yielded no good results in the twenty first century. If he resurrected today he would wish he gave more time to… Read more »
Winston Msowoya
I would like to patriotically congratulate Goodal Kaiwonanga Gondwe and other patriots for attending a commemoration appreciating Rev.John Chilembwe’s rebellion of 1915 against British colonialism.Indeed,it is high time the people of Malawi and Africa remember this one of the greatest African freedom fighters of our time.He was gallant and visioned fighter and aboveall,God loving believer.While in the U.S.,he was abhorrent seeing African-Americans being mistreated by the slave masters and that was the catalyst for his revolutionary zeal that created an impetus for final revolution in his fatherland.Indeed,such commemoration has come too late,but also it has aroused revolutionary zest for our… Read more »
Winston msowoya
Thanks God at last,I have come across the name that I greatly miss in Malawian history and yet,it is the greatest name in Malawian and African history.Indeed,it is not a matter of fogetfulness,but a deliberate stance by the former regime of the dreaded MCP to highlight Banda’s unauthentic political history.Malawi presently is covered with Banda’s names especially in the south and central for instance,Kamuzu Highway,Kamuzu Stadium,Kamuzu Nursing College,Kamuzu Barracks,Kamuzu Int’Air Port,Kamuzu Palace so on and so forth.Malawians,are you dead souls or what? Really,not even a street depicting the name of our greatest and authentic hero of our liberation struggle,John Chilembwe?… Read more »
Ayaya kumudzi

Chilembwe s struggle has earned him more wreaths than any freedom fighter but Chiradzulu remains one district with nothing to show for. Just my observation.

Ayaya kumudzi

Anything to show for in Chiradzulu in his honor apart from the name here and there?

Imraan Sadick

Kodi nkulu uyu wayandikana ndi Goodall Gondwe wa Looks akupha ndindani ameneyu?
the old Man is handsome


Do not comment things that you doesn’t know, here.



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