The Ngoni Paramount Chief, His Majesty, Ngwenayma Maseko Inkosi ya Makosi Gomani V, on Saturday April 21, 2017, honored the Mbekeani Mayombo clan when he and a delegation of aNgoni impis attended the Tombstone Unveiling Ceremony of the late Ambassador Mr. Nyemba Wales Mbekeani and Mrs. Lois Mbekeani, at the St. Michael and All Angels CCAP church in Blantyre.
Other dignitaries who attended the ceremony, were former Ambassador Mr. John Magombo and Mrs. Magombo, and Ambassador Mr. Tony Kandiero, former Minister Mr. Dama Phoya, former Minister Mrs. Eddah Chitalo, former Minister Patrick Mbewe and Mrs. Mbewe, and Mrs Mbumba Banda (wife of late former Minister Aleke Banda).
Ambassador Mr. Nyemba Mbekeani succumbed to lung cancer on September 2, 2015. This was barely one and a half months after his wife of 65 years, Mrs Lois (Chikankheni) Mbekeani, lost her long-time battle with heart disease on July 23, 2017.
Many people will remember Ambassador Mr. Nyemba Mbekeani as Mkulumadzi and the Bread People man; while Mrs. Mbekeani is remembered as the Fruit People lady. However, both Ambassador Mbekeani and Mrs. Mbekeani enter the history books of Malawi as 1950s-1964 freedom fighters: Ambassador Mbekeani as the front liner freedom fighter and his wife as the enabler.
Both husband and wife have accolades that can fill two volumes each. Ambassador Mbekeani was the first translator for Malawi’s first President, Dr. H. Kamuzu Banda.
Mrs. Mbekeani on the home front, facilitated hosting political activists that helped the eloquent medical doctor, (Dr. Banda) wrestle power from the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland and British colonial rule. Achieved formally in 1964.
Ambassador Mbekeani often recounted how he and other Banda followers gave themselves up to the British-controlled Nyasaland police when they heard that Dr. Banda had been captured. He and several hundred political agitators, spent one year at Khami Prison; while Dr. Banda spent one year and a half at Gwero Prison.
From prison life Ambassador Mbekeani jumped into an illustrious international career in capitals of London, Rome, New York, Washington D.C. and Addis Ababa as Malawi’s High Commissioner, Ambassador and Permanent Representative.
As Ambassador Mbekeani performed his diplomatic duties representing President and country, Mrs. Mbekeani took First Aide, Home Nursing and Trainer of Trainer courses and led an impressive volunteer career with the St. John’s Ambulance Brigade, the (British, followed by the American) Red Cross, and the UN diplomat’s wives’ association (teaching English to wives of diplomats).
Once retired, Ambassador Mbekeani and Mrs. Mbekeani, settled in their home district Blantyre where he was appointed Malawi Housing Cooperation General Manager before embarking on a career in the bakery business; Mrs. Mbekeani continued her volunteer work with the Red Cross, St John’s Brigade and the Girl Guides Association of Malawi; and citrus farming – hence the name “the Fruit People.”
The Tombstone Unveiling Ceremony began with a Church service in the same church Ambassador Mr. Nyemba Mbekeani married his school sweetheart Miss Lois Chikankheni.
The service on Saturday was presided by Ambassador Mbekeani’s school friend – Reverend Bottleman and Reverend M’bawa. From the church, His Majesty, Ngwenayma Maseko Inkosi ya Makosi Gomani V, joined the family and guests to the grave site where the tombstone for Ambassador Mr. Mbekeani and Mrs. Mbekeani was unveiled.
Thereafter, guest converged at Ambassador Mbekeani and Mrs. Mbekeani Maoni residence in Limbe.
Ambassador Mr. Nyemba Mbekeani and Mrs. Lois Mbekeani are survived by four children (Janet, George, Joyce and Lumumba), 13 grandchildren, and 19 great grandchildren.
May their souls rest in God’s eternal loving peace.