Former First Lady and MP Patricia Shanil Dzimbiri’s funeral “a celebration, not a mourning moment”

* Based on her letter she wrote dated May 18, 2023 to her friend Eileen Kasomekera — a sort of a Will

* In which she assigned Eileen Kasomekera to engage best directors of ceremonies to make her funeral ceremony great and jovial

* Get best master of ceremony oti adzabebetse, l want people to celebrate my life osati za khumakhuma ai, said the letter to Kasomekera

By Evance Chisiano, MANA

Directors of ceremonies, broadcaster, Owen Lupeska and Major Phiri of the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) offered some compassionate eulogy at former First Lady and MP, late Patricia Shanil Dzimbiri’s funeral — denying it from being a somber mood but a celebration of a life honourably lived.


They based it on her letter she wrote dated May 18, 2023 to her friend Eileen Kasomekera — a sort of a Will — in which she assigned Kasomekera to engage best masters of ceremony to make the funeral ceremony great and jovial.

In the letter with a subject; ‘Passing on Programme’, Shanil Dzimbiri gave instructions to Kasomekera that a master of ceremony should make the funeral programme lighter as opposed to make it mourning stage.

Basing on contents of the letter, the two MCs chose to bring a jovial mood to the funeral ceremony and urged mourners and those that graced the occasion never to mourn Dzimbiri to honour her wishes.

“Get best master of ceremony oti adzabebetse, l want people to celebrate my life osati za khumakhuma ai (as opposed to a somber mood),” she instructed her friend Eileen.

The letter had many instructions such as duration of the vigil at home at Mfulanjovu in Balaka, choice of funeral service providers, caterers, choirs, presiding Catholic clergy — preferably Father Tebulo and Nthalika.

“Therefore, we are not here to mourn Patricia Shanil Dzimbiri — we are her to celebrate her life,” emphasised Major Phiri honouring the contents of the letter that circulated on social media platforms.

It said: “Dear Eileen, this will sound weird but just bear with me, I would like you to take charge when it will be time for me to leave this earth. There is no one kwathu who can organise a proper funeral ceremony for me.”

Ironically, in the same letter, she had indicated that she wanted Vice-President Saulos Chilima to be among the speakers on her funeral apart from family representative, traditional chief in her area before the Mass.

The two MCs had honoured her wish but on his part, UTM representative, Felix Njawala said while late Shanil had wished her funeral to be a celebration of her life, some are failing to honour some of her wishes.

“We are mourning because of the nature of her death,” he said. “Let me said that Dr. Saulos Chilma, who was her choice to speak, died with her,” Njawala mourned.

Former President Joyce Banda described said late Madame Shanil was a dedicated Christian who, despite being a politician and a highly ranked woman in Malawi, invested deep loyalty, kindness, love and sacrifice to others.

“I remember when she was the First Lady, she adopted 10 needy children and provided for them — this is love and kindness,” she said.

“She was a rare gem. May her soul receive the price of her good deeds.”

Born on September 25, 1964, late Dzimbiri of Mfulanjovu in the area of Traditional Authority Chanthunya, served as a Member of Parliament (MP) for Balaka West from 2014 to 2019.

A representative of the bereaved family, Samuel Kamwendo described late Dzimbiri as a pillar of the family and that her death was a big loss — while her daughter Edna said her mother sacrificed tirelessly for her children’s welfare.

Other dignitaries who attended the ceremony included Minister of Water & Sanitation, Abida Mia; former husband to Madame Shanil, former President, Bakili Muluzi; senior government officials — that included Presidential Advisor on Parliamentary Affairs, Maxwell Thyolera; political representatives from various parties and religious leaders.

Thyolera said the late Dzimbiri was always available for her responsibilities at Parliament and as a member of the Legal Affairs Committee when she was MP — adding that her death is a big loss to the nation.

The Holy Eucharist celebration was led by Archbishop Thomas Msusa of the Archdiocese of Blantyre and Bishop Montfort Sitima of Mangochi Diocese and Bishop Emeritus Pangani.—Editing by Maravi Express