They say ‘when the student is ready, the teacher will appear’. We lost a teacher, friend and powerful author on the 12th February 2016. Dr Chiku Malunga was a prolific teacher and all it took for one to be a student was hunger for knowledge.
Everybody who came into contact with Malunga was in one way or another transformed by the knowledge he shared. One would immediately start writing a new chapter in their lives because of the knowledge imparted to them by this literary giant. Mother Teresa once said: ‘’Become a pencil in the hand of God and start writing a new chapter in your life.’’ Malunga inspired those who had the privilege of learning from him to do just that. He was a transformational author and leader in his own right.
I first met him in 2009 when he reviewed the manuscript of my first book which was later published in London. The review comments were priceless and became the standard for my subsequent books. Eight years later, they are still applicable to me as a writer. Such was the wisdom of Malunga. He was a forward thinker and without a doubt, a generational thinker.
The 13 books he published were a testament of his transformational thinking. He thought from a micro-level to a meso-level and right through to a macro-level. He had an interesting strategic and transcendent thought pattern that I am sure mesmerised many of his readers. It is my assumption that in addition to this thought pattern being God-given; it was also complemented by his studies, life experiences, work experience and his own quest for personal development. It is not always easy to enter the minds of such great people but all I know is that he was a God-fearing man.
Dr Dennis Waitley once remarked that “the immortality in a human being is what they have left in other people to carry on that legacy”. Malunga has left an admirable legacy as an author and organisational development (OD) consultant. His passion was to see organisations improve their performance using the African philosophy of Ubuntu (I am because you are, sometimes referred to as the essence of being human). He neatly weaved this African philosophy in his books and merged them with other globally accepted philosophies.
The use of African indigenous wisdom in organisational development led to a term or study known as ‘organisational paremiology’. Malunga spoke passionately to me, a few weeks ago, about organisational paremiology and how he wanted it to be incorporated in the country’s tertiary education system. He was probably the first and leading indigenous wisdom-based organisation development writer. I trust that his dream will come to pass and this can only be possible if people would read his books and appreciate his line of thought. Our reading culture as Malawians has to improve if at all we are to appreciate such things that our home grown authors have started.
As an individual, Malunga was witty, jovial and humble and certainly knew how to win friends and influence people. Those that knew him for sure know that he loved his family. He had a doctorate degree (PhD) in development studies from the University of South Africa. But despite his high academic achievements, he loved to be known simply as Chiku Malunga. I believe he has been to the mountain top and that he fulfilled his life’s purpose. We will truly miss him. I will truly miss my literary mentor of the past eight years. n