Malawi mourns renowned youth activist: Francis Kalonga

Hundreds of condolence messages have been pouring in Malawi following the demise of one of country’s well known youth activist-cum-politician Francis Kalonga.

Kalonga, who until his death was Executive Director of Matindi Youth Organisation in Blantyre, died Thursday morning at Thyolo District Hospital where he was admitted to.

According to Marcel Chisi, a close friend of the late Kalonga, burial of the youth campaigner will be held Friday afternoon at his home area Matindi in Blantyre.

Kalonga: Dead

“Youth leaders, workers and professionals are encouraged to see our colleague to the final resting place. Politicians bury each other, journalists do, men of the pulpit do and we, youth leaders and workers, should also do the same,” said Chisi, who is Executive Director of youth developmental NGO, AYISE.

The late Kalonga, 36, rose to stardom during his tenure as Chairperson of the National Youth Council of Malawi where he fought tirelessly for the recognition and representation of youth in the country’s various development initiatives.

However, during the 2009 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, Kalonga took a temporary break from youth activism and joined politics under the banner of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party(DPP) but lost in the primary elections before standing as an independent candidate in his home area Blantyre North East Constituency.

Meanwhile, activists in the country have described late Kalonga as an aggressive youth development advocate and a cheerful leader whose death is a great loss to the youth fraternity in the country.

“What a hard worker! What a patriot! What a cheerful leader and personality! I worked closely with him in various youth fora in the mid 2000s.  Honestly, this is a big loss to the youth fraternity and the nation at large,” mourned Kent Mphepo, Executive Director of the Story Workshop, on the civil society forum.

Also sending his message of condolence was Moses Mkandawire, Executive Director of Church and Society of the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia who wrote: “Our thoughts at Church and Society of the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia are with his family, May His Soul Rest in Peace.”

Acting National Coordinator of Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) Reverend MacDonald Sembereka also wrote: “Sad news indeed and may the soul of our friend, brother and colleague Francis Kalonga rest in peace.”

Because of his work and association, late Kalonga also developed a good relationship with the media fraternity and a number of journalists have also been sending their messages of condolence to his family and the youth in the country as a whole.

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