Ilyaas Itimu, is a strange name to many who have never followed Malawis media for long time. But to the media, especially the many upcoming Journalists, he was a friend and father figure who accommodated everyone despite his or her status.
Ilyaas, the man we fondly called Ike, died on Monday 27 August 2012. He will be buried today at his home village in Balaka.
I met Ike when I joined the MBC newsroom in April 2002. He was a Chichewa Editor, I was that 'vibrant' catch from the print media into electronic newsroom. His first words were, "dont let them change you, fight what is yours always."
Since then Ike grew to become a close friend. For 10 years we traveled through different media Houses, but we always came together and shared many.
I last had a 15 minute chat with him on his hospital bed at Kamuzu Central Hospital two weeks ago. He told everyone that I would be coming when I had time and he was prophetic that I would see him that day.
As a Nurse advocate he had become, he complained of negligence and told Nurses that he will make sure they get same treatment if they went to see him. One Nurse was shocked to see him removed the IV tube alone after it had emptied and was left hanging on him for hours. He told her he was "half a doctor."
Life with Ike was adventurous.
We traveled to Mangochi at night and monitor medical personnel who were on the wrong foot of the profession. The other trips which would take us to Dowa, Balaka and Salima were mainly to listen to angry or ill treated Nurses.
Ike has gone home to rest, but I am sure he is resting a happy man.
I will not cry over his passing, but I will choose to celebrate his great life and contributions to the media industry and the Nursing community.
He was a loving father, telling in a humorous way the birthday gifts he would by for his daughters. One demanded a black berry, he showed her a ZTE handset he was using telling her this is what I can afford.
Today he rests eternally. A good friend gone too soon. A political operative with massive analytical capacity.
We will never have time to analyse the PP convention and predict the 2014 outcome.
We will never have time to go to Mangochi and dance to Zambian music on the middle of the road
We will never have time to burst into Hospitals and check poor conditions
We will never party again with Dorothy Ngoma, Romeo Bwanali, Harriet Kapyepye, and Augstine Chiwanga during the Christmas parties.
IKE, we will never see you again, but you will always be in our hearts and mind forever.
My Man, My Friend, My Mentor and a great advocate, its time to Sleep.
REST THEE WELL ILLYAAS ITIMU!
MAY THE GREAT ALLAH REST YOUR MIGHTY SOUL!