Malawi Heritage UK introduces awards of recognition for Malawians in diaspora

Kantiki’s Certificate of Recognition

* Starts with rewarding Malawian British soldier Kantiki for his 100-mile fundraising challenge to procure PPE’s

* “The initiative has been well received and without doubt sets precedence for others to follow”

* Malawi Heritage UK promotes culture awareness and integration amongst younger Malawi born in the diaspora

By Duncan Mlanjira

Malawi Heritage UK, an organization that promotes culture awareness and integration amongst younger Malawi born in the diaspora, has introduced ‘Outstanding Positive Community Engagement’ awards for those judged to have made ‘outstanding positive community engagement’.

The initiative has started by recognizing Malawian British soldier, Staff Sergeant Bruno Kantiki for his ‘Outstanding Positive Community Engagement’ shown during his 100 miles walking challenge to raise funds to procure personal protective equipment (PPEs) for Malawian frontline COVID-19 health care workers.

The presentation at Kameza Isolation Centre in

He raised over £3,000 (K3 million) through the 10-day challenge (10 miles each day) done in May during the early stages of the pandemic and managed to send over the equipment that was donated at Kameza COVID-19 Isolation Centre.

The equipment included N95 masks, face shields, 3-ply facemasks, examination gloves, disposable gowns and Infrared thermometers, which were enough not only to protect the COVID-19 health care workers but was used to treat the patients.

The Certificate of Recognition, posted on Malawi Heritage UK’s Facebook profile, was the organization’s “way of encouraging positive engagement in the diaspora”.

Director Allan Mandindi

Its board of directors chairperson, Allan Mandindi said the award is aimed at recognising Malawians that have been exceptional both in community engagement and promoting Malawi.

“As an organisation, we followed what SSgt Kantiki did and our Board saw it fit to honour him as a way of encouraging others to help our mother country,” he said.

“There are several other Malawians that have been outstanding in their communities during the pandemic but due to uncertainty brought about by COVID-19  restrictions, we just thought of recognising Kankiti as what he did set the pace for others — something which is exemplary and worth acknowledging.”

The Kantiki family that presented the PPEs

Asked how the Malawians in diaspora have regarded the recognition bestowed on Kantiki, Mandindi said it “has been well received and without doubt it sets precedence for others to follow”.

“It is good to acknowledge the good that others are doing in their community here in the diaspora and back home. This also shows that Malawians living in the diaspora play an important role both here and home and they need to be included in our country’s developmental agenda.”

Mandindi said going forward, these recognitions will be done every year towards the end and the awardees will be chosen by a special committee.

Coronavirus Alert

Since Malawi was affected by COVID-19 in April, the public commendably joined hands in solidarity to assist the government fight the global pandemic — that showed Malawians can work in solidarity to help each other in times of crises.

The presentation was done by members of Kantinki’s family through the Gogo Kantiki Foundation — a registered charity which cares for orphans and vulnerable children in Zomba District — which Bruno founded.

In its quest to promote culture awareness and integration, Malawi Heritage UK — established in 2016 and registered in UK — takes cognizance that there is a huge population of Malawians living in the UK some of whom are British-born, who know very little about Malawi history.

It operates from Manchester and other members include Bishop Seraphine Katenga Kaunda, Veronica Msonthi Mackie and Memory Choliva.

Directors Bishop Katenga
Kaunda and Choliva

“There is a rising number of Malawians settling here in the diaspora especially in the UK. It’s important we don’t lose our Malawianess,” Mandindi said.

“We need to be proud of our heritage and be able to teach others about our culture and our beautiful country Malawi. Our friends from Nigeria and Ghana they have done extremely well.

“There children — although born in the UK — are proud to call themselves British Nigerians or British Ghanians and we want the same for Malawi.

Teaching kids Malawian culture

“Let our children be proud to call their parents’ home their’s as well. The more they see people like Kantiki doing something for Malawi the more they will do the same.”

He added that another way forward is for the Malawi government to start acknowledge those in the diaspora as partners in development.

“Many countries have even established diaspora office for their governments to effectively engage with their citizenry in foreign countries,” he said.

Mandindi, former British soldier and Afghanistan war veteran, holds BA Hons Politics and MA International Relations and Global Communications.

Kantiki, a former broadcast journalist with MBC and has been with the British Army since 2003.

Kantiki had said he was inspired to carry out the challenge by former British Army officer, Colonel Tom Moore, who is 100 years old but has carried similar challenges that raised millions of pounds for the National Health Services Charities in UK.

Appeal from Speaker of Parliament Catherine
Gotani Hara