From the grave, Rose Chibambo speaks

This Monday, December 16, will be a special day in Malawi when a book about the late Rose Chibambo’s life will finally be launched.

Chibambo, one of the fighters for the country’s independence, died in 2016 of heart complications.

Born on September 8 1928, Rose Chibambo is a special woman in Malawi’s history. Her face appears on the country’s K200 banknote.

Her’s is a compelling story about a woman who beat all odds to leave a mark on the country’s political landscape.

The book’s cover

Through writer Timwa Lipenga, the late Chibambo is telling her detailed story in a book titled Lomathinda.

“The book contains Rose Chibambo’s story in her own words. But that is not all. The book also contextualises that story by giving information about that particular historic period,” said the author.

Lipenga said she interviewed Chibambo herself, but also took time to interview a number of her relatives and friends.

She said: “The more I read about Rose Chibambo, the more I was stunned that I had not come across her name even though I studied Malawian history as an undergraduate. Who was she?”

Published by Open Logos Publications, the book will be launched on Monday December 16 at Four Seasons Gardens in Lilongwe from 4pm.

Open Logos Culture’s Muthi Michael Etter Phoya said Lipenga’s debut book tells a compelling story of Rose Chibambo from surviving a difficult birth to forging a women’s movement in Malawi.

“In a series of intimate conversations with Lipenga, Chibambo traces the origins of her family, her culture, her commitment to building a post-colonial nation—and the heavy price she paid for it,” he said.

According to Phoya, the book also includes additional context on the history, culture and society of Malawi through speeches, songs, and newspaper articles. It also has recollections from Chibambo’s children, including one daughter who was imprisoned with Chibambo. There are also archival photographs that bring to life the struggle for an independent Malawi.

Lipenga, a lecturer at the University of Malawi, Chancellor College, has had two stories Swimming Partners and Duty published in African Road: New Writing from Southern African (PEN South Africa, 2006) and in The Daily Assortment of Astonishing Things: The Caine Prize for African Writing 2016 (Interlink Books, 2016).

Before becoming a lecturer, she was a features writer and sub-editor for The Nation, a product of Nation Publications Limited (NPL).

Logos Open Culture on the other hand is a start-up with a vision to amplify Malawi’s story.

It also published Malawi – A Place Apart written by former Norwegian Ambassador Asbjorn Eidhammer in 2017.

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