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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Adios amigo, adios Dennis Atcheya Chirwa- one day we will meet again

Adios amigo, adios my friend
The road we have travelled has come to an end
When two love the same love, one love has to lose
And it's you who she longs for, it's you she will choose 

Adios compadre, what must be must be
Remember to name one muchacho for me 
I ride to the rio where my life i must spend
Adios amigo, adios my friend 

Adios compadre, let us shed no tears
May all your maƱanas bring joy through the years
away from these memories my life i must spend
adios amigo adios my friend.-by Jim Reeves


When we thought we got it right in our life journey, death bites hard and takes away one of our own. We were four, in 2001, Chiletso Shati then having a shop in area 18A, introduced me to a friend, who instantly turned into a brother Aubrey Kalino. Aubrey one day brought along  friend, Denis Chirwa, who would years later follow me into Journalism and become one of the closest sparing critic in everything I did. Limbikani Nzungu Chisi moved to Lilongwe, the boshitia gang was born. Boshitia is a Mozambican hit, nobody but Nzungu can tell its singer, Denis was the pilot of the group, I was the one one sitting in front and Aubrey was the story teller. We traveled all corners of Malawi, we planned all sorts of things. But Denis, among us had one unique character, he would be the most argumentative, more than Nzungu when high, but he will be the peacemaker with everyone.
He never left a friend, even if they had quarreled. He would argue, argue and argue, then remark in his idol Bakili Muluzi's voice "Mumaona Atcheya Amatekeseka" then take a long sip of his carlsberg green, and go on to the dance floor, in his jacket and dance. After his dance, he would order all of us home, that his BCA Hill Jnr should not be left empty.
In the morning, he will be the first up, drive to my place, let himself in and drink anything he found. As if nothing happened, as if there was no argument, if you brought it up he will tell you, "za dzulo Atcheya amwela dzulo, lero ndi tsiku lina". He imparted that bond, that no matter what happened or argued on, you should wake up a different person the next day.
Many knew him for his strong criticism of any Government of Malawi, many wondered if he had lost his head, many wondered why he admired Former President Bakili Muluzi than any other politician. The politician whom we named him after- Denis, became our Atcheya. He became the symbol of boldness amid chaos.
I write far away, wondering what is going on with his spirit. What is happening to this bold brother of mine, all alone, killed like a dog in a foreign land, looking and crying over the spilled blood. The blood now on You Tube, died a painful death. I hope I can provide answers to what he lived for and what he did for the 14 years, we became good friends, workmates and brothers.
We were four, now we are three. May the soul of Atcheya look upon and protect us.
Denis, never wanted to be a journalist. But since 2001, when I was covering local Government elections for the Nation, he offered to drive me around. His daddy, now my Uncle Brigadier Marcel R.D Chirwa, loved his first born son more, he gave him a Toyota Corrola at the age of 17. It would be our feature of transport for fun or work.
We covered the elections, he took my notes, or brought to my attention anything that I had missed. We spoke and argued about parties and when Limbikani Chisi, then an engineer moved to Lilongwe, politics was the main subject, that Aubrey always shouted at us to find better topic.
In 2008, he applied, without any qualification to the Malawi Electoral Commission as a stringer. He was picked, he called me and told me "I will be your driver and you will tell me how you spot news" I took it as a normal project.
We literally travelled wide and far, thats when the fascination with President Bakili Muluzi started. He believed Muluzi presented both politics of the past, but more importantly what he called "human politics."
Every time we covered a presidential rally, Denis would come to MBC area with his MEC badge just to check what President Muluzi was wearing and which jokes he would through. He always thought Dr. Muluzi was a human first and a President later. He bought jackets and wrist watches that matched Muluzi's and spoke and joked about him everyday.
When his father was arrested, he was furious and dared even Police officers who were refusing us entrance to court, he said all these are Brigadiers sons, they will go in and write what this stupidity is all about.
He loved and adored his father. We spoke at length why he never wanted to be a soldier like him, he said my mind I would not be a disciplined soldier. He had company of soldiers whom he called friends.
He loved and adored his mother. He would speak of her hours end. When he lived in Blantyre at Chimwankhunda, he only had one fear- I dont know what would do if my mother died. He feared her, never even wanted to sleep out, but sneak in. I cant face Denis's mother today and not any time soon.
He adored and loved his mother Tamara, they became buddies and more often driving around together. Whilst in Kenya, he told me where they went, what they were doing. A bond so rare.
The he adored his sisters Felistas was his best friend than a Sister, dragging us to see her. We knew Marion and Mtisunge before we met them. Claudia was an angel in Denis words. He would stop everything, even his favourate drink would be second if any of the sisters called, he would walk away at a distance to speak to them. He would come back beaming "Atcheya monga mwini mbumba was being consulted." He planned their weddings, spoke about it and wanted the best out of them.
Then there is Pacharo Marcel, his brother he loved and protected. He admired and openly expressed his emotion. Very rare would Atcheya speak about emotions, even the "First Ladies" at each time, would rarely be a subject of discussion, always ending with I give them enough attention. But Pacharo was his world. When he went into the Army, he spoke everyday about him, he planned his pass-out more than his graduation. Pacharo's return into the military was a triumph for Denis personally, a soldier was in the house. On the pass-out, though I was out of the country, he sent me a picture of himself, the retired brigadier and the young-man, telling me "osaopa" we have conquered. No words can heal the pain his brother will forever fill.
Then there are other two people Malumbo he called My elder brother and fighting partner, they argued fought, but anything happened, he called him first and also Ralph whom he said, "I want to get better and write something about his skills."
Despite his well-to-do status at any point, he gave priority to his friends. The stories are abound about his driver-like attitude at MEC as a stringer in 2004, Democratus where he picked everybody and even at Capital Radio, where he enjoyed radio more than any other place.
If you asked him his dream, he said meeting Atcheya and having a cup of tea, Ooh Yes, we will be two Tcheyas in on room. 
Apart from his criticism to any work you did, he was an advisor to the gang. When I moved to the Office of Vice President, he gave me three months to survive, when I told him I was moving out of the office- he laughed as said "I told you, cant work with politicians, it needs boot looking and pretenders. You cant fit in, come to BCA jnr tizawotche mbuzi." When we gathered at BCA Jnr, he never raised the issue, he said that is gone, forget you worked there, lets find something to do.
He hosted a barbecue when he was about to leave for Kenya, within a short time he had been in Area 25C, everyone around him knew about BCA Jnr and himself as an organiser and his skills.
Politics, he never supported any party- he would tell you the good and bad things about each party and why nobody among the gang should join politics, saying "Ndizabwera mmakwanu kuzakusamutsani mukalowa ndale." He sounded very political on social media, but he never wanted to join anybody. He said it was the easiest way to destruction.
Last Friday we spoke about a death of his closer friend, I called him, he was defiant as usual, we agreed in December we will be in Malawi, we will roast mbuzi which I had run away. After his degree he will come to London and stay and look for post graduate opportunities. We should he said, go back to Balaka and see what we saw that night. We should go back to Salima and dance on top of those boats again. He said we should make sure we record videos of eevrybody dancing. On Saturday, his last day on earth he wrote inbox "You dont like football, Tcheya akunyamuka kukaonela mpira, tilankhulana mawa". The tomorrow that will never come.
I have left out deliberately his amazing part of life- Denis liked reading on human life and freedoms. He read Martin Luther King Jnr. He knew everything about it. He said "the great die young".
He seemed to have prepared for his death. He took photos of all of his family a week ago and put them together on his war. His last profile page.
He took pictures of all of us, his gang at wrong places and times, and in-boxed us. We went berserk that he was keeping the photos, we laughed and joked about those days. Before he died, he found time to remind us the bond we shared, the good times we took for granted. More important he brought us together again.
My family of the Chirwa's, the loss is not bearable. To my brothers of the gang, Tcheya will always linger around, huge and larger than in our past when we thought he will be forever somewhere and we will meet again.
All alone, he was stabbed and killed from behind, nobody could face this courageous from front. He travelled today alone in a box. He said when he died everyone including foreign media will write about him. Tragic as it has been, it has been true to his word.
Perhaps tomorrow I will wake up and understand this bad dream.
Perhaps when I see his grave one day, closure will come.
Perhaps there is a reason his life has been short, his departure brutal
Perhaps he was an angel, who came to teach us something we never knew
Perhaps very soon, we will join him and roast heavenly goat
Everything is in doubt, but I am sure he looks down smiling, wanting us to forget the pain, and live as if nothing happened.
Quoting his hero MARTIN LUTHER KING, Free at Last, Thank God Denis Atcheya is Free at Last.

Adios amigo, adios my friend. You will forever live in our hearts!
The pain of loosing you is eased by knowing that one day we will meet again!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oE5nLMzmja4


2 comments:

Talk and Walk said...

We honor the life of Dennis, what a phenominal tribute to your hermano amigo.

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