Inspiration for Ayileche

Mr C.I. Mkondiwa on the porch of his house in Namadzi, Malawi with two of his sons and a friend (December 2006)

Early Life

Mr Creighton Isaac Mkondiwa, popularly known as C.I., was born on February 27, 1925, in Napwanga Village to Isaac Mkondiwa and Grace Kumiwale Mkawa. Mr Mkondiwa was raised in a single parent household with his brother Steven after Isaac Mkondiwa, Sr. abandoned his family and fled to Zambia where he remarried and had more children.

As a child, C.I. Mkondiwa was educated by his grandfather Mr Saindi Mkawa. He was forced to find a part-time job brewing beer in order to pay for his tuition fees and, as a result, he never drank beer.

Marriages

On May 14, 1951, C.I. Mkondiwa married Margaret Samu at Zomba Church of Central Africa, Presbyterian (CCAP). Together they had 8 children. Their home was a refuge to many, including women facing difficulties in their families and children in need of food, clothing and love. Tragically, Margaret Mkondiwa passed away on May 14, 1975 from cervical cancer. C.I. Mkondiwa married Rosina Chiumia in 1981.They had 5 children.

Employment History

C.I. worked in the Malawi Government’s Public Works Department, later named the Ministry of Works and Supplies. While there, he aided in the construction of the old Zomba Dam and the Kamuzu Stadium. He retired as a Roads Supervisor in 1977 and moved to Namadzi to live out his retirement.

After his retirement, C.I. joined the Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) as a Roads Supervisor and retired in 1985.   Because of the mobile nature of his job, C.I. and his family moved around a lot in the central and southern regions living in areas such as Nsanje, Chikwawa, Zomba, Chiradzulu, Mangochi, Ntchisi, Lilongwe, Machinga, Blantyre and Ulongwe.

Faith

Because faith was an important part of C.I.’s life, he became an elder in the CCAP for several years and was also able to fundraise for the Namadzi CCAP. Because of his strong belief in treating everyone as equals, he regularly welcomed people into his home, helped raise his brother and sister’s children and paid tuition fees for children who were not related to him. As he got older, CI became greatly concerned about the plight of the elderly in his village. He believed they needed access to good health care as well as companionship and help with everyday tasks.However, he also believed in not taking life too seriously and, as such, one of his favourite expressions was “ayileche” which in the Yao language means “leave it alone.”

C.I. Mkondiwa with one of his many grandchildren

Death

C.I. passed away on the 16th December 2008 at the age of 83 from prostate cancer. He is survived by his widow, 1 sister, 1 brother, 10 children, 32 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. We , his family and friends, have been inspired by this great man to continue his vision in the work we do with Ayileche CBO.

Church members at Mr C.I. Mkondiwa’s funeral

-Written by grand-daughter Hannah Mondiwa, with help from his daughter, Jane Mondiwa.