The remains of Jack Jabulani Thompson Jere were laid to rest on 16th January 2018 at a moving ceremony that took place at Njuyu CCAP mission in Ekwendeni Mzimba in the northern part of Malawi.
The late Jack Thompson was a firm admirer of the Ngoni culture and this was demonstrated by the fact that he had requested that when he does, he must be placed into his coffin wearing the full Ngoni warrior regalia. And secondly, he also requested that his remains must be brought back to Malawi, a country he loved dearly and buried specifically at Njuyu mission cemetery.
The ceremony was led by Livingstonia Synod General Secretary the Rev. Levi Nyondo and co-chaired by the moderator of the synod. About 40 reverends from around Mzuzu Presbytery and Mzuzu city travelled to Njuyu to witness the occasion.
The University of Livingstonia, a representative of Chief Mbelwa the 5th, members of the Ngoni Heritage and Malawi Scotland Partnership also attended the ceremony. The guest of honor for the event was Jack’s second born son Dr Mark Thompson who was also christened with the Jere clan name during the ceremony. The service was conducted following all normal CCAP procedures for such events.
The remains of Jack Thompson were brought to Malawi by Rev Prof. Kenneth Ross SMP’s board member. The funeral service was well attended by community members from Njuyu as well members of the women’s guild from Mzuzu. There were two choirs and two Ngoni warrior dance groups who sang songs at the service. In his remarks, Dr. Mark Thompson said that his father had told him that people should not mourn at his funeral but be in a celebratory mood as he had no regrets whatsoever for the life he had led. To support this wish, all choirs who performed at this service sang and danced to Ngoni tunes and at one point Dr Thompson joined the dance.
Prof Kenneth Ross articulated the history of Jack Thompson in Malawi, the work he did both at Livingstonia and Grace Bandawe as well as the passion he had for the Ngoni culture and the people of Malawi. This was demonstrated by his wish to be buried at Njuyu and the community there really felt honored that such a man would want to make Njuyu his final resting place. He was an extra ordinary person who also believed in rain making. What was more interesting was that whether out of sheer luck or by design, immediately after the remains of Jack were laid to rest, the rains started!
The livingstonia synod out did themselves by ensuring that Jack’s final resting place was well done. The grave was immediately sealed after his remains were laid to rest. He lies in a place together with other Missionaries who trod on the same place he did. He will forever be a significant figure not only in Njuyu but Malawi as a whole; may his gentle soul continue to rest in eternal peace.
Written by Vera Kamtukule, CEO Malawi Scotland Partnership