Lessons from encounters with Prof Rubadiri—Part IV


We continue from where we left last week as we discuss 10 lessons that I learnt from my encounters with the late Professor David Rubadiri who was laid to rest two weeks ago.

Last week, we discussed the need to be safe, leaving impact and legacy and the importance of aiming higher than you think. Below are further lessons from my encounters with Prof Rubadiri.


  1. Begging is bad manners

Professor Rubadiri managed University of Malawi (Unima) at a time Unima had very limited financial resouces. He was forced one time to seek financial support from the private sector and he began by saying: “Although begging is bad manners, I am compelled to beg…” Indeed, everyone must aim to be independent because when you are not, you will be forced into bad habits of begging. We must do our best to avoid the bad manners of begging. We must therefore work to be independent and to have self-adequacy. If you do not have enough, you will be forced to always be a beggar. When you are a beggar, you do not earn respect and a beggar never earns enough. Everyone can do more and better than a beggar.


  1. Power of presence

Professor Rubadiri was 70 years old when he became Vice Chancellor and his energy was beginning to wane down. Despite this fact, Professor Rubadiri made every effort to make himself available and present when needed. He attended all key meetings relating to student affairs. He was inspiring to students and very engaging. At a personal level, I will not forget that he cut short his trip to Zambia to be able to attend my wedding which we organized to happen just before I could leave for my studies in the UK. I was a very young man who had just finished studies a few months before that and yet a very big figure like him made that gesture. It meant a lot to me and all that were present at that day and due to demand, he was asked to make his remarks. No matter how big you become, you will be remembered by how you impact the lives of those not much counted in society and your presence is one key way to achieving this.


  1. Believing in values of honesty and courage

This is what lacks in most modern leaders. They get into leadership only for power, material interests and other personal interests. Not to serve others, make impact and leave legacy. That is why most of them are not honesty people and they lack courage. Prof Rubadiri belonged to the generation of courageous and honest breed of leaders. In everything he did, one would clearly see those traits in Rubadiri. Those of us who met and interacted with him can only blame ourselves if we do not practice these values and principles which he radiated all the time for all to see and emulate.


As we remember Professor Rubadiri, a true son of Malawi, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Botswana and the rest of Africa, let us celebrate his impactful life and his legacy. Many of us benefited from his wisdom, care and love and his teaching. We should try to do the same to others that we meet in life. We cannot just benefit from the help, support and benevolence of others without in turn also helping others. We too must do whatever we can, to help others also excel.

May the almighty God receive the soul of Professor David Rubadiri in his Kingdom! n

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