By Duncan Mlanjira
A post on Facebook posted by Davies Saddo, the man who had close contact with one of the best Malawian journalist, late Chinyeke Tembo, attracted an avalanche of responses in which all revered this professional, who made a difference in the country’s media in the short span he was in the industry.
Saddo posted Chinyeke’s picture as an eulogy, saying: “Don’t mind if he looks strange to you, youngsters. But he was one of the greatest pen pushers.
“I will honour him by liking my own post. Keep Resting in Peace” to which he received an avalanche of emotional comments from the general public.
In his response, Jonathan Mbuna just said: “Manchild, Chinyeke Tembo”, which was Chinyeke’s most popular column in the Daily Times newspaper he had worked for after the Nations Publications.
Mulotwa Mulotwa just said: “Ana amuna!” meaning the best there was while Kondwani Zulu said: “ManChild. They don’t make them like him anymore.”
Annie Kadzanja said: “ManChild was one of his kind” with Pilirani Phiri saying: “He didn’t only write. He painted pictures with words so we could both read and see.”
Chancy Mtambo called him ‘Kuchitekete’, Christine Msiska said: “His writings are still on the walls while former great football player Victor Maliro said: “Man Child sanali wamasewera pa zolembalemba izi”.
Prominent lawyer Shepher Mumba said: “Whilst living in Chinyonga, with uncle Ganizani Harawa, Chinyeke lived a few houses away from ours.
“Each time he visited our uncle, he was full of stories from Zambia and about Zambian women. His piece ‘From Kenya, Without Love’ emphasised his euphemism.”
Vituble Mzumara said: “We used to drink with him pa Banco’s ‘Pa Nest Pub’ at Naperi in Chitawira. He also worked with my late father at the Daily Times and Weekly News”.
Thomas Chafunya, who worked with Chinyeke at the Daily Times said: “Oh boy. Last time I saw him was at my birthday party in Area 12. Then couple of months later I heard he was no more.”
Buxton Baleke Kayuni said: “His last piece was written from his hospital bed. He was praising his nurse that she was a beauty.”
Madalitso Kateta said: “The Manchild — my mentor, the man who greatly influenced my journalism. Could call you an idiot when you were not filing a copy at the right time and in the style he liked.
“But by the end of the day, he had taught you something, a man who after working with journalism, became different from what you learn in journalism school, a combination of humor, creativity and facts. RIP boss!”
Lawyer Joseph Kamkwasi says: “He wrote an article about lawyers perfectly married, who didn’t show their spouses to the public. Tinanyozeka.”
Talandira Khonje said: “I used to enjoy his article that appeared in one of the weekend newspapers. One particular article that I still remember very well is ‘Do Area 18 residents ever sleep’”.
On 22 December 1999, Panafrican News Agency in Dakar, as reported by one other great Malawian journalist, Raphael Tenthani, reported the weekly Mirror newspaper journalist, Chinyeke Tembo, spent the entire day in police custody following a story published over an alleged plot to assassinate President Bakili Muluzi.
“The story, written by Tembo himself, alleged that South African authorities were investigating Zimbabwean South Africa- based businessman, Billy Rautenbach, for allegedly funding a plot to assassinate Muluzi,” late Tenthani had written.