Nine years after the death of politician and businessperson Aleke Kadonaphani Banda, family members, friends and colleagues on Saturday gathered at Chirimba in Blantyre to unveil his tombstone in a ceremony preceded by a prayer service.
Aleke Banda, popularly known as AKB, died on April 9 in 2010.
The prayer service was led by St. Michael and All Angels CCAP Church moderator Reverend Chaplain Stephens assisted by former Livingstonia Synod moderator Rev Mezuwa Banda.
Notable faces included Minister of Information and Communications Technology Henry Musa, who represented President Peter Mutharika, former president Bakili Muluzi, Speaker of the National Assembly Richard Msowoya, former official government hostess Mama Cecilia, Mama Cecilia Tamanda Kadzamira and veteran politician Ziliro Chibambo.
From 3.14pm the atmosphere turned sombre as family members, friends and colleagues of the late AKB started laying wreaths on the newly unveiled tombstone as Ndirande Anglican Voices sang in the background.
In his speech, AKB’s younger brother Dikani Banda, who represented the family, remembered AKB as a hard-working and visionary leader who dedicated his life to serving people in the country. He said AKB is one of the country’s heroes government ought to honour.
“This man deserves to be honoured. As a family, we have done our part by honouring him. We have named one of the roads in the village [Tukombo in Nkhata Bay] ‘Kadonaphani Avenue’ to appreciate the great work he did to our family and the nation as whole,” he said.
A representative of the Kahumbe family, where AKB’s wife Mbumba Banda comes from, also spoke highly of AKB while the deceased’s first-born son, Masankho Banda, remembered his father as one of those prophets whose prophecies have been fulfilled.
Reacting to Dikani Banda’s sentiments in an interview later, Muluzi expressed worry that nine years down the line, government has not yet honoured AKB.
Muluzi said he remembers AKB for, among others, his unwavering efforts to bring about change in the country’s politics.
Said Muluzi: “Aleke Banda was one of the few great men I have ever worked with. He was very intelligent. We are supposed to name something, such as a road after him, to appreciate his work”.
Mama Kadzamira also described AKB as one of the three best people she had worked with during the late Kamuzu Banda’s regime.
Musa, who is also government spokesperson, described AKB as a very patriotic citizen who wished his country well.
AKB established, in 1993, Nation Publications Limited (NPL), which publishes The Nation, Nation on Sunday, Weekend Nation, Fuko and Nation Online.
Currently, NPL employees about 260 Malawians from across the country.