Telling the story of Rose Lomathinda Chibambo

Writer Timwa Lipenga will next month launch her book Lomathinda, which highlights the life and times of Rose Chibambo. The late Chibambo was one of the country’s first female political leaders. She rose through the ranks in Malawi Congress Party and served as the first female member in Kamuzu Banda’s first Cabinet. She was born on September 8 1928 and died in 2016 of heart complications. Hers is a compelling story about a woman who beat all the odds to leave a mark on the country’s political landscape. Our Arts Editor EDITH GONDWE caught up with Lipenga for details.

The book cover

Q

: Malawi has a number of politicians. What inspired you to write this book about Rose Chibambo, out of all politicians that the country has had?

A

: Well, Dr Louis Nthenda, Professor Jack Mapanje and Professor Lupenga Mphande contacted Dr Jessie Kabwila, asking her if she could identify women to write about other women in Malawi. When we got together with Dr Kabwila, we compiled a list. I read around several women, but felt drawn towards Mrs Rose Chibambo because although I had studied Malawian history, her name did not feature that much as a key player in the fight for independence. I felt there was so much to learn about her life.

The more I read about women’s biographies, the more I realised that they do not often get a forum to tell their story; hence, my decision to write this particular book about a female politician.

Q

: What is contained in the book Lomathinda?

A

: 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.

Q

: How did you come up with the content of the book as we appreciate that biographies need a lot of information both from the subject and those around the subject?

A

: By interviewing Mrs Chibambo herself. I also took my time to interview a number of her relatives and friends. I also read a lot around the subject [Mrs Rose Chibambo].

Q

: Who are the publishers of this book?

A

: My book has been published by Open Logos Publications.

Q

: How will you market the book to ensure that it reaches as many book lovers as possible?

A

: My publishers are already doing a good job. I am sure they will ensure that many have access to it. Probably that’s how you [The Nation] got to know about it. There is a launch of the book in December, and I will be participating.

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