Black History Month "Saluting our Sisters"
06 October 2023
Black History Month
This year, Black History Month was themed ‘Saluting our Sisters’ - dedicated to honouring the achievements of black women who are often the forgotten heroines. This year’s celebration showcased pioneering black women who have made remarkable contributions to literature, music, fashion, sport, business, politics, academia, social and health care, and more.
The SMP honoured and recognised remarkable Malawian women from the past or present - black women that made or are making a difference in their communities. We invited members to nominate these incredible women from history or the present day who inspire you!
SMP members nominated amazing woman from the past, volunteers in local communities, students, co-workers, family members, influential leaders.
“A Yao by birth, she was one of the very early converts to Christianity at the Blantyre Mission. The first female teacher there, she ran the laundry classes for hundreds of young girls, carried out more general teaching, and preached the Gospel too. She married John Rondau, another central member of the team at Blantyre, though they were later divorced.
This photo from 1895 must be one of the earliest named photos of a Malawian woman to have survived down the ages. Coming from ‘A glimpse of Mission Work and Scenery in British Central Africa’ she appears twice in the photographs and by dint of being named, was clearly a very important member of the Mission staff.” Nominated by Dave.
"Vera Mlangazua Chirwa (born 1932) is a Malawian born lawyer and human and civil rights activist. She was Malawi's first female lawyer and a founding member of the Malawi Congress Party and the Nyasaland African Women's League. She fought for multiparty democratic rule in Malawi and was charged with treason, tried and sentenced to death by President Kamuzu Banda. She spent 12 years on death row. She was married to lawyer Orton Chirwa, Malawian Minister of Justice and Attorney General, who later died in prison." Nominated by Moira.
“I would like to nominate Ms. Edda Chitalo from Ndirande in Blantyre. She was the Domestic Science Tutor at Kapeni Teachers College in Blantyre in the 1960s before becoming the first Female MP in Dr Hasting Kamuzu Banda’s cabinet.” Nominated by Sue Pattison
"Esnarth Maulidi has been working as a Support Officer with Rare Charity since 2020. She provides an essential link with the Rare Charity scholars and the communities with which the charity works, helping to identify young people who are not able to continue their education, and expand the number of scholars that we can support. Esnarth keeps in regular contact with each scholar, and maintains close links within the local community. Having been supported in completing her own education, Esnarth is passionate in extending opportunities to more talented young people.
In her free time Esnarth loves hiking and singing in church as a praise team member. She says, "I have experienced a lot of things with Rare Charity and I really like working to solve the problems which scholars are facing." Nominated by SMP member Tom
“A compassionate and strong individual who always puts herself at the forefront of issues relating to the disadvantaged in society, both here and in Malawi.
Joyce is a multi-talented ‘sister’ who has worked tirelessly for the Malawian Diaspora, as Chairperson of the Association of Malawians in Scotland. Their aims are to empower the Diaspora and raise funds to help disadvantaged communities in Malawi. She has also worked with children from disadvantaged backgrounds in Scotland.
She is a great advocate for Fair Trade not Aid, as CEO of Fair Trade Scotland, and understands how, as a Malawian Farmer’s daughter, Trade is the answer to lift farmers out of poverty, through a sustainable supply chain.
As the Global President for Play Soccer Malawi she has promoted economic empowerment through the sport.
She is a Board Member of the UK/Malawi Chamber of Commerce, MAHECAS and the Umunthu Funeral Scheme.
So to sum up, Joyce is a remarkable woman and a heroine to many of the above recipients with her unfailing commitment to making a difference in their lives.” Nominated by Eve
"I wanted honour and celebrate Dr Rachel Sibande. She has reached out to so many orphans from a young age and consistently gives herself to serving orphans in Malawi. She currently takes care of 100 children.
She is also a technology entrepreneur in Malawi and is the founder and Director of Mhub Malawi. She has been recognised as one of the 100 most influential women in Malawi. She is doing positive and impactful work in her community." Nominated by Malawi Scotland Partnership team member Linda
"In Malawi, nearly half of all women are married as girls, including one woman working to end this harmful practice. Chief Mwanza had wanted to finish her education, but instead she was married off at 14 years old. When she became one of a handful of women tribal leaders, she banned child marriage and sexual initiation practices. Sexual initiation practices force girls into unwanted sex and increase the risk of unintended pregnancy of infections like HIV. Because of Chief Mwanza's actions, thousands of girls have returned to school after experiencing child marriage and motherhood." Sourced from UNFPA Malawi
" Mai Mbambande Foundation is an initiative that mirrors the life of its founder 23 year old Deborah Mbale. The experiences she has encountered in life prompted her to do something to change the circumstances. Mai Mbambande Foundation is a Non -Profit Organisation that focuses on the lives of elderly people. Deborah strongly believes that an educated female population increases a country's productivity and fuels economic growth.” Nominated by Malawi Scotland Partnership