A sombre mood will today engulf Blantyre as scores of writers escort veteran author Aubrey Kalitera to his final resting place.
The writer succumbed to high blood pressure induced stroke and diabetes on Monday afternoon.
According to Kalitera’s daughter, Vicky, the writer will be buried this afternoon in Blantyre after mass at his residence in Manyowe Township in Blantyre.
Vicky said her father collapsed at his home around 3pm on Monday and was pronounced dead upon arrival at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital.
“My father has been struggling with diabetes and high blood pressure since 2012. His remains are being kept at College of Medicine mortuary. Family and friends have been mourning at the deceased’s home in Manyowe Township,” said Vicky yesterday, adding that Kalitera suffered a similar, but not so severe stroke attack sometime back.
Writer Stanley Onjezani Kenani described Kalitera’s death as a big loss to Malawi and described him as a writer who had an own way of writing.
Kalitera, who has authored several books, will be missed by the local writer’s fraternity where, until his death contributed a lot through mentoring and lecturing budding writers.
According to Malawi Writers Union (Mawu) president Sambalikagwa Mvona, Kalitera has been a flag carrier of Malawi’s writers and his fame dates back to the 1970s when his writing started to compete internationally.
His first book was A Taste of Business published in 1968.
A year later, he published A Prisoner’s Letter. His other books, Why Father Why and Nchiyani Mwana Wanga were part of the Malawi secondary school curriculum.
Kalitera also ventured into short story writing, some of the stories were compiled into books such as She Died on My Bedside and Sweet Mag.
His novel To Ndirande Mountain With Love was turned into Malawi’s first movie which he directed.
In an interview, Mvona said Kalitera was part of the legendary writers to be recognised by the writers’ body in August and said they will dedicate the awards to his life.
“It is sad that he will not be around when we recognise him, but his name is on the list and we are saddened that he has passed on just two months away to the awards,” said Mvona.
Kalitera’s last pieces were his submissions to last year’s Peer Gynt Literary Awards, where despite not winning, his two entries Input Subsidy and Why Poverty, were among the 13 finalists.
Born on February 8 1948, Kalitera hailed from Maselema Village in Traditional Authority (T/A) Mlumbe in Zomba. He has left a wife, seven children and two grandchildren.