Dr Tembo writes:
"What a pity that a man who loved sports - Hardy Nyirenda - who has been lovingly remebered by Bright Malopa, is no more. I felt so touched reading this piece by Mr Malopa. Yes, the good and bright ones don't live long."
Dr[s] Tembo and Shara,Franklin and Hese and many others who have written in private
The story of late Hardy Nyirenda is just too unreal if taken in the context of what others say about Malawians in general.
Time and again we hear of so and so doesn't wish me well.We have heard of people trying to pull others down.There are some people to date who have taken courage to report fabricated stories against fellow country men for reasons not far from vice and malice.
Hardy was different.
Dr Tembo correctly addressed hardy as some one who loved sports.What is even striking was that not only did he like sports but also created a platform where talent could be exposed.He was not interested in known and established players.
He could pick a player,analyze him and highlight his strength.He crafted his articles in a clever way such that they would influence decisions.
He did this with many players notably a soccer ace by the name Acton Munthali whom he had watched playing for Bata.In this tournament, Bata was playing against Silver Strikers and it must have been one of his earliest games.His performance impressed Hardy and from that day, Hardy told a colleague thus:
" I want this guy to play for Malawi national team"
For the next three weeks and probably months, all the concentration was on this lad.He highlighted his strength and how his pace could provide a useful link to another established player in the national team. It was not long before Acton Mnthali was called to take part in the national team a move saw him playing for his country without knowing who did what.It remained like that and they never met.
Come to think of it, there was no relationship between him and the lad neither did he know him personally.All he wanted was to create an environment where this lad could realize his dream.He did not do it for fame or money but for the love of humanity.
Hardy's love for people did not require him to know them.He could invite strangers and offer them shelter.Thus in 1995, he came across a young Man by the name Chinyeke Tembo.Chinyeke was born and raised by Malawian parents resident in Zambia.He had heard about the stories of Dr Banda through family friends who were exiled in Zambia like the Chibambos,Bwanausis and many other freedom fighters.
When his parents died,he did not see himself as a zambian.He wanted to go and visit the birth place of his parents but he did not know anyone from Nsanje to Karonga except an old pal late Dingswayo Chirwa. Burbled with patriotism ,Chinyeke left Zambia for Malawi, destination unknown. When he arrived at Kamuzu international airport,he was welcomed by late Dingiswayo Chirwa who was not established yet.The arrangement was that Dingiswayo would welcome Chinyeke and probably escort him to a bus deport where he could catch a bus to Mzimba where his parents were born.From there ,Chinyeke would probably trace his parent's relatives.
At the airport,he was welcomed by his friend Dingiswayo who was accompanied by a work colleague Hardy Nyirenda.As they were heading for Lilongwe city,Hardy became interested in Chinyeke the visitor.He wanted to know where he was going,where he was living and all sorts of questions anyone would ask a stranger.
It was through these interactions that Hardy realized the degree of patriotism.From no where, Chinyeke became Hardy's visitor.He took him to his house in area 18 and made him feel home.The following weeks,he started giving him some lectures about current affairs and on several occasions took him to the democrat offices where Hardy was an associate editor.
This led to Chinyeke assisting Hardy with a few things[while at work] and later found a way where Chinyeke could earn some income.He negotiated a space for Chinyeke at the democrat and in no time,Chinyeke became a regular contributor.Hardy loved Chinyeke's work and realized that the only way he could grow himself into an established journalist was to move on to a bigger place.
Thus he contacted his friend Jika Mkolokosa at the nation publication for a possible job opportunity.It worked.Now Chinyeke Tembo the young man who had come to visit his parent's country of origin found himself in full employment with the nation through Hardy's personal effort.At the nation, Chinyeke came with a bang.His articles became a hit and attracted the attention of hon John Tembo chairman of Blantyre print at that time.
Hon Tembo invited Chinyeke for dinner at his Nyambadwe house and at the end of that dinner,Chinyeke was offered employment with better conditions and terms of reference.While at Blantyre print,Chinyeke continued to perform and no sooner than later he was approached by the Mirror news paper where he ended up becoming managing editor and became one of the highest paid news men at that time[K15,000.00 although it stayed there for the next3/4 years until he left the paper after months of no pay]
To day Chinyeke Tembo writes for reuters and has traveled extensively to pick other international assignments .
The issue here is not about Chinyeke Tembo and his successful career.
Rather It is about the uniqueness of a man who against all stories the world is told about Malawi and Africa in general,inscribed a self principle to wish others well.To be a solution to the needy,to create an environment where people even unknown to him can prosper and flourish.To use his talents not as a weapon to intimidate,humiliate,belittle and ridicule others but to add smiles on faces which would have otherwise been left bewildered and destroyed.
When he fought for a fair and equitable university selection system at Chancello college,he did not do it because those who were being disadvantaged were people from his region of origin.He did it because it was unfair to humankind.
I should have added that when Aford joined the UDF,he was offered a lucrative post in government to which he turned down on principle because he felt that the move had the potential to compromise his hard held social democratic convictions.Instead he picked a good job with the GTZ a german sponsored NGO because the organization had an interest in democracy and human rights issues.However, continued to contribute to major papers.
It was for this reason that he got into trouble with the UDF.It would appear like the young democrats had been tracking him for some time because they had the nerve and courage to call him whilst attending to some business at Ryalls hotel.Despite being tipped about the planned attack,he ignored well-wishers warnings and took a bold decision to face his accusers face to face.They violently attacked him in broad day light, humiliated him and did all what they were known for.
His reaction was what surprised most of us.
To begin with, he had money to sue the culprits and could personally afford a lawyer.Beside, his organization was in a position to finance any court battles in pursuit for justice.
But other than thinking for himself, he thought about the many journalists who were working for unestablished papers.He looked around and find that many of them were not as privileged as himself and that they could not afford lawyers.
He looked at their swollen faces,some of them in clutches,some of them had their offices literary dismantled for the simple reason that they spoke against the leadership of the time.
The pain of having to see the cries of brothers in arms yet treated as rogue elements and enemies of the state by others was too much for him ,indeed too much to bare.He look straight into their eyes and saw a sign of helplessness.
The only way he could reduce their pain was to be their voice.
That's when he made a final decision to quit his job and journalism altogether and left Malawi for UK to read law.He felt challenged when he saw cases of brutality rising by the day and told himself, "unless some one take a personal responsibility to defend the voiceless,the voiceless will continue to be brutalized."
He sold all his belongings and withdrew his savings and investments to read law in the UK
He graduated with a batchelor of laws late last year and was planning to go back home in 2/3 months time,to start his work at legal aid and later establish his law firm where he was going to champion his cause.
When I called him few weeks ago, he was in Manchester buying a car so he could send it to malawi in advance.
Imagine draining all your life savings to invest into an area whose whole purpose is to defend the voiceless with or without money.
As Ellen G White once said,"The greatest want of the world to day,is the want of Men who do not fear to call sin by its right name.Men whose conscious is as true to duty as the point needle to the pole and finally men who will always stand for the right though the heavens fall" Malawi nation is inneed of these people.It is inneed of people who are willing to sacrfice their time to serve and not to be served.
Last night together with Harry Mabaso and his wife,we went to see Hardy's wife and children. I'd gone there not only to be with them in these difficult hours but also to give them a huge chunk of money from other mourning talkers in particular Mr. Trevor Chimimba [May God bless you Trevor]
Whilst there, I also took an opportunity to read her, Mr.. Kachale's poem.She was very attentive and on several occasion, I saw her smiling.As I continue reading Mr. Kachale's poem,her son Hardy jr.[knowingly or unknowingly] switched the family's min-hifi on.It seems he knew what he was doing because he skipped several songs before settling at one song "MWIKHE THEMBA" by Wambari Mkandawire.
"Mumie,that's dad's song" he concluded while pointing at the radio.In response,the mum rolled her eyes to the left then to the right and finally, I saw some tears dropping down her cheeks.
AT THAT TIME I FELT THE PAIN OF DEATH .
THAT DEATH IS REAL,
AND FINALLY AGREED WITH DR MARK TEMBO THAT "THE GOOD AND BRIGHT ONES DON'T LIVE LONG"
As I was leaving the place,I saw a cd cover of the famous country and western singer : Kenny Rodgers.I took note of the title album and realized it was not my kind of music. Not that I hate Kenny Rodgers but because the songs listed were ballads and unfortunately not my favorite-Real country blue grass.
However, for interest sake, I went past Virgin and bought the CD @£9.99 and played it at home. I went from song to song.From islands in the stream,to Reuben James,past good by marie and many more.But one song stood out and it was
"something inside so strong"
Earlier, I had seen a star like scratch against one of the songs but cannot claim and confirm that the star was scratched against this song. However, the phraseology and the composition of the song and the way it was worded gave me an impetus to suggest that this might have been Hardy's other favorite song for it went like
THE HIGHER YOU BUILD YOUR BARRIER
THE POWERER I BECOME
THE MORE YOU TAKE MY RIGHTS AWAY, THE FASTER I WILL RUN
YOU CAN DENY ME YOU CAN DECIDE TO TAKE MY RIGHTS AWAY
BUT NO MATTER WHAT YOU SAY AND DO
KNOW THAT THERE IS SOMETHING INSIDE SO STRONG.
The song moved me and brought me back to his early days.It was then that I realized that this guy may have indeed strong convictions on issues which required his intellect,time and wealth.At which point, I remembered Mr. FRANKLIN SIMTOWE's posting which ended with:
"HARDY WAS A WARRIOR"
There are many patriotic Malawians here but few if any are as courageous as Hardy.We hear about people who are praised publicly for courageous acts, yet some of them commit acts of courage in private. They go through hell in life being afraid, yet they still face each and every single day, doing the very best they can at every given moment to better others. They have courage throughout their lives and it comes to the forefront without much planning or thought.
One last amazing thing about Hardy was that despite all the name he had created as student activist and a journalist, he hated publicity.This explains why he did not release any official photograph to any media house.Such is the case that the only picture available to the media[now] is the one he posted to Malawitalk after Justice Mwaungulu's impressive presantation at the COMMONWEALTH head office[By the way, Dunstain Mwaungulu and Jack Mapanje were his only mentors] Thus all the stories being published about Hardy's tributes have a picture where Hardy was with Justice Mwaungulu.
The story of Hardy Nyirenda the legend is a statement to Malawians that they need not remain silent out of fear, that that they have the power to turn the tide of history. It is a message that states unequivocally that the real heroes of this world are not people who rush to grab each and every headline in cyber spaces, neither are those who seek to sophomorically compete on how many girls they once dated at a given period of their fame.Rather it is about those dedicated men and women who are prepared to invest their wealth,time and intellect to serve mankind even when no one knows.Those who are prepared to repay malice with love and finally those who are prepared to love their enemies and forgive their tresspassers.
This has not been an easy task to Hardy and his family it seems.The tore this task has taken on their finances is evident .
From what I have seen,it seems we need to step in as a society.If there is anyone who feels strongly and share the views and ideals of Hardy Nyirenda,please share the little you may have to help Rhoda and kids. You can do this by calling Mr. Mabaso on 07762006227 or write him at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Mrs Nyirenda just joined her husband recently and has no any other known friends apart from her cousin.It may also be a good idea to pay her a vist .
IN MOMENTS LIKE THESE,WE RISE, WE CHEER AND WE MOURN TOGETHER.
Iam told,all Malawian based journalists are planning to receive Hardy's body with a heroes welcome. They have effectively asked the family as to whether they can take charge of all arrangements once hardy's remainings are in Malawi.Iam told minibuses are being hired to transport people from where ever they are to the port of entry.Several leading papers have donated several pages of space where the reprints of condolences from the internet and some of late Hardy Nyirenda's articles will be published.
If these reports are true,they signify the greatness of the man whose acts had impact on the lives of many people.
When I was a kid,I felt in love with one primary school poem.It went like:
IF ALL THE TREES WERE ONE TREE, WHAT A GREAT TREE THAT WOULD BE
the poem went on to went to say :
IF ALL THE LAKES WHERE ONE LAKE, WHAT A GREAT LAKE THAT WOULD BE
IF ALL MALAWIANS WERE LIKE HARDY NYIRENDA,WHAT A GREAT NATION MALAWI WOULD BE