At exactly 15:04, the body of James Chimpweya, who until his death on Sunday morning was Nation Publications Limited (NPL) photojournalist, was lowered into his grave in Chikwawa District.
Hundreds of people that gathered to pay their last respects could not hold back tears as the brown coffin carrying the skilled photojournalist was gradually lowered into his final resting place.
Driving down the road leading to the house where the body of Chimpweya lay since Monday afternoon, about five kilometres from Thabwa junction, the silence was loud and sad faces were all round.
From the eulogies delivered at his home before a church service at Thima CCAP Church, one could easily tell how humble, hard-working and God-fearing the deceased was.
A member of Kachere CCAP Church in Ndirande, Chimpweya’s Men’s Ministry colleagues took a leading role in the ceremony and sang some songs.
In his eulogy, NPL deputy chief executive officer Alfred Ntonga described the late Chimpweya as a humble person who would interact with anyone regardless of age.
He said: “I have worked with the late Chimpweya for many years and for all those years, I have known him to be a hard-working person who was dedicated to his work. So, he [Chimpweya] was someone that we relied on and with his passing, we will find it hard to cope as a company.”
Speaking on behalf of Veteran Journalists and the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi Chapter, Felix Mponda described the late Chimpweya as a fountain of wisdom.
“We are deeply saddened by the death of a man that many people could go to for guidance. He was a humble person,” he said.
Like Mponda, Chikwawa North parliamentarian Owen Chomanika described Chimpweya as someone who was always available to offer guidance when needed.
Said the legislator: “The life that he [Chimpweya] led was one worth emulating. We should all strive to lead a life like his. Most of you can agree with me that Mr Chimpweya was that one person who never held grudges or made enemies. He was always friendly.”
Speaking on behalf of the family, Francis Chinkole, said Chimpweya’s death was a huge loss to the family. the family, Francis Chinkole, said
During church service, his children sang a song to bid farewell to him. While they sang mournfully, some of the mourners in church could not hold back their tears, too.
Chimpweya died on Sunday morning after collapsing on Saturday in Chikwawa where he went as patron of Living Waters Church (LWC) Radio to donate assorted items to less privileged children.
Born on October 5 1957, he joined NPL on January 21 1999 and had previously worked for Times Group, thenBlantyre Print and Packaging,, as well as State House.
Survived by a wife, nine children and six grandchildren, Chimpweya came from Chinkole Village, Traditional Authority Katunga in Chikwawa District