Family, journalists, the Catholic clergy and politicians have paid tribute to celebrated Malawian international journalist and columnist Ralphael Tenthani, who died in an ill-fated car crash in May 2015.
On Saturday, Tenthani’s imposing black-granite topped tombstone was unveiled in his final resting place at Agabu village in senior chief Ganya in Ntcheu, just after Balaka in Central Malawi.
Tenthani was until his death the long-serving BBC and Associated Press correspondent in Malawi and also wrote a regular scathing column, “Muckraking on Sunday” in the Sunday Times, published by the Malawian Times Media Group. He was also a contributor of Nyasa Times.
Hundreds of people gathered at Agabu village for a befitting Catholic mass that preceded the solemn tombstone unveiling and laying of wreaths and flowers.
The presiding priest praised Tenthani as a man who did “good” on earth as attested by his work as a journalist. His work touched the lives of many people in society.
“As the Catholic church, no way could we have turned our backs on Tenthani. His work as a journalist would have proved us wrong. No wonder when he died, we all came here in shock and in disbelief. People from all walks of life and across the political divide came to pay last tribute to the great son of Malawi.
“It is consoling to note that most of his friends in journalism have returned to pay tribute at his final resting place,” said the priest.
Speaking on behalf of the media fraternity veteran journalist and long-time Agence France Presse (AFP) correspondent Felix Mponda described Tenthani as a great gift to Malawi and the journalism field.
“We celebrate the life of Ralphael. He was a gift to journalism and Malawi. We thank God for his life,” said Mponda, who is also a founding member of International New Correspondents (INC-Malawi), a grouping of journalists that report for international media houses.
The INC Malawi veteran said the grouping misses Tenthani for his brilliant and candid writing and reporting on issues.
Tenthani’s Muckraking column always touched raw nerve, as it was often critical of politicians and other leaders whenever they erred. “Holding people to account was his job,” said Mponda.
In his remarks, Kizito Tenthani, a sibling to Ralph said the scores of people that attended the memorial was a symbol of their love of his brother. “The muckraker is gone, but not forgotten,” he said.
Many people at the ceremony wore t-shirts celebrating Tenthani’s life. Whenever he was in Blantyre, Malawi’s commercial capital, Tenthani enjoyed working from a small corner of Sportsman’s Bar at Mount Soche Hotel.
Also known as the “Ralph Corner” among peers, it was from this spot that for years Tenthani poured his heart out and told the world what was on his mind. And many fell in love with his writings.
“Come, let’s have a glass while discussing that story,” he would tell his peers whenever they reached him on the phone to chat or discuss news diaries.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :