By Vincent Khonje- Mana
President Lazarus Chakwera on Saturday led students, teachers and parents in commemorating Kamuzu Academy (KA) founder’s day in Mtunthama, Kasungu.
The country’s founding president the late Ngwazi Hastings Kamuzu Banda opened the school on November 21 1981.
Accompanied by the First Lady Monica Chakwera and Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima, the President dwelled on the issue of national building in his address.
He said the true measure of the quality of education delivered at Kamuzu Academy and any other education institution is not in the strength of the curriculum or the credentials of teachers who facilitate it, but the men and women that the education produces.
“In short what has always set this institution apart is the ability or the utility of the student to the project of national building that awaits them,” said Chakwera.
The President said as people in this country the work of national building is far from done.
“Even though my administration has been entrusted with a task of building a new Malawi there are many obstacles that we must surmount on account of that in the quarter of the century this task has been neglected.
“By way of illustration, at a time when there should have been many public schools of Kamuzu Academy calibre, we have an education system so full of rubble and mediocrity that it will take years just to clear it or to replace it.
“We find ourselves in a strange situation of needing much more than the urgency of the state to fix what is broken in this nation, we need fine men and women who themselves have capacity to break barriers and lead us towards new frontiers and unscaled heights of innovations and development,” he said.
Chakwera said, thankfully Kamuzu Academy has always led the way in producing fine men and women and barrier breakers who are ready not only to go to college and get a job but to make a mark in Malawi.
He mentioned some of the people who have passed through the corridors of the prestigious grammar school in Yolanda Kaunda who is the first female pilot in Malawi, Samuel Kampondeni, Malawi’s first radiologist, Samson Kambalu an artist whose artwork has been exhibited at international level, Chanju Samantha Mwale who broke barriers as a first female lawyer in Malawi Defence Force and Catherine Gotani Hara who is currently Speaker of Parliament.
Before the President spoke there were also several speakers who made their remarks asking Malawians to emulate an example set by Kamuzu Banda whom he described as principled and patriotic son of Malawi in establishing the school also called the Eton of Africa.
Minister of Education Agnes NyaLonje tackled on the issue Kamuzu as a founder on the belief of quality education.
“The founder of this institution was a man who cherished a deep belief in quality and excellence and recognized the central importance of education to bring development in Malawi.
“Kamuzu Academy is truly an embodiment of this belief and commitment and excellence applied to education,” said NyaLonje.
Headmaster of the school, Andrew Wild, said Kamuzu Banda’s love turned into service as he realized that leaders needed quality education and that is why he built the school.
“He brought to Mtunthama, the best possible materials like strongest bricks and hardest timber to build the academy that was to last for generations. He also brought to it best possible pupils, highest scoring boys and girls from each district,” said Wild.
He therefore asked the president if the initiative of having government sponsored students to the institution to continue.
During the ceremony there were several lessons from the Bible read by students in different languages including Latin, Chinese, French, Chichewa and English.
The school chaplain, Reverend Gerald Guduli, led those who gathered in praising the Lord by preaching the word of God as the institution was also founded with strong belief in God as one of the followed principles.
After arriving at the school, Chakwera toured some displays the students showcased.
Present at the event were notable figures in Ministers like Ken Kandodo, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda who are all relations to late Kamuzu and Lingson Belekanyama and also Deputy Minister of Education Madalisto Wirima Kambauwa.
Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani Hara and her deputy Madalitso Kazombo( another relation to Kamuzu), secretary to the president Zangazanga Chikhosi also attended the ceremony.
Kamuzu Academy has about 650 students and about 50 teachers who are Malawians, British and Chinese