I last met the Late Mary Kaphwereza Banda, my teacher for years on November 23 at Johannesburg's O.R Tambo. She was coming from graduation of one of her daughters. She proudly told me "aliyonse akumalizga masters mwana wane." She was very proud of her daugthers, her achievements and as Bakili Muluzi put it rightly at her role in the history of Malawi.
In September before primaries for Lilongwe City Central, she told me she was yet to make a decision to contest though there was pressure for her return. I dismissed her jokingly that that was a politicians white lie. She invited to me to a tour of her properties.
I had attended Walani brefiely in the 90's and my niece is at Peter Pan. I have some distant cousins at Mount Sinai. We ended our tour at her office at Mount Sinai it was lunch hour. She had a meal prepared at the school, an ordinary nsima with some green vegetables and meat. She refused me to have it and offered to buy me lunch at a "proper resturant". I asked her what was the problem. "I eat here with my staff, but for you did not contribute today so you will be imposing on our lunch" I laughed, she was not.
Then we went again political, she repeated the same, that since getting out of Government in 2004 she has concentrated on her three major businesses and they have grown. She reminded me of her trip to China which again we met on the plane. I am not sure where I was flying from, but we spoke a lot about the potential of Malawian businesses getting deals in China.
The last meeting on November 23, was a very remarkable, the plane had PS for Labour, Commissioner for Labour, MCP Beston Majoni, Prof Mathews Chikaonda and Hon Nancy Tembo.
As we approached Lilongwe I was talking to her about how many state funeral would be there if the plane crushed, she told me "I dont wish any. I want my family and real freinds to mourn properly not some sort of a show Kondwani."
Very ironic, that the first woman Secretary General of a political party in Parliament, the first woman to own three thriving businesses, the first Minister for HIV and Aids, my Minister of Youth who listened to the will of youth had to be buried at a simple ceremony in Area 18, sorrounded by freinds and family.
Any Journalist who spoke to her when she was appointed will testify that she clearly stated that she will never insult anybody but only state facts. She lived to her word.
At all her three schools she insisted on hard workd and discipline- she lived up to it.
When my mother won Business Woman of the Year accolade in 1996 from NABW she was the Chairperson, she almost cancelled the award presentation stating that people might think she had influence in it as they knew each other, it had to take others to convince her.
Though it is part of our culture to praise even thugs when they are dead, but Mary Kaphwereza Banda who recieved us in audience as a Minister of Youth in 1998 and implemented all our resolutions. Who built three schools that have and continue to offer education to over 2,000 students in Lilongwe and a politician who fitted well as MP for Capital Hill, she deserves special mention. He roles and service to the Nation were great.
As a teacher, politician and mother she did her best to serve and listen to everyone.
On Christmas day, I was silently looking for her former cabinet colleague Alice Sumani, who together with late Kaphwereza whilst in Alexandria in Egypt in 2002 learnt that as a youth delegation we were not funded, they took their personal allowances for us to go shopping to never forget Egypt.
I will never forget that amazing smile, those discussions at Mount Sinai, Kanengo, Area 43 and even at a bank in city centre telling me "my son I have worked hard for what I have. I dont want politics to mess it up."
Some people decided she was not worthy their mention, but Kaphwereza Banda stood for all what a successful model a young Malawian girl would want to emulate. She died an achiever and she remains part of the national hall of fame!!!