Rumphi man mentally ill for 27 years recovers after father’s burial


A man identified as Simon Kayira, 49, who suffered from mental illness for over 27 years, regained his sanity recently after the burial of his father at Chiberekete village in the area of senior chief Mwankhunikira in Rumphi district.

In an interview, his uncle who is also village head Wasambo said Simon’s condition turned worse in 1994.

Kayira having his hair cut

“He started isolating himself, stopped taking his bath and stopped wearing clothes.  He has suffered for a long time. This is like seeing the biblical Lazarus rising from the dead and we are all pleased,” he said.

Wasambo further said that his brother (Simon’s father) died on 13 May and was buried on Saturday, May 14, 2022.

During the burial, a naked Simon was also asked to lay a wreath on his father’s grave which he did with his sister.

Soon after the burial, his nephew asked him if he could put on some clothes and this time he accepted after running around naked for over 27 years.

He was later clothed and had his overgrown hair which he had been keeping for 27 years cut for the first time.

He later took his bath and has been taking his bath since that day.

On his part, Simon said he does not remember much from his past.

However, he is able to remember the names of his cousins, aunties, and friends he used to play with in his youth.

Group village headman Chiberekete said he was in awe to see Simon recover from his psychological disorder after suffering from the condition for 27 years of his life.

Simon is optimistic to support his aged mother and sister after fully reintegrating into the community.

Another villager, Tyson Mayuni, while collaborating the story, said the entire village was happy to see Simon putting on clothes again.

Thandiwe Mkandawire who is executive director for Mental Health Users and Carers Association said his reintegration into society will depend on the kind of support he gets from his community.

“There are so many things to be considered for one to reintegrate into a community such as peer support, psychosocial support.

“It also depends on what is in the community to allow such a person to reintegrate. For example, people’s attitudes and what community leaders are doing to have that person reintegrate into the community,” she said.

Meanwhile, a well-wisher and businesses man of Malawian-Asian origin based in the United Kingdom (UK) has engaged Simon’s family on how best he can support him.

Eventually, Simon and his guardian were invited to Lilongwe for further support arrangements.

Upon arrival in Lilongwe, Simon was attended to Saint John of God clinic at area 43 for medical treatment; physical and mental support.

Some of the items Kayira has received

Not only that, the well-wisher also dressed up Simon and gave him food items, mobile phone and bicycles.

“Firstly, when he sent someone to visit us at the home village to find out about Simon, we doubted him. But after understanding fully his main intention, the family agreed to accept the invitation to Lilongwe.

“We can’t believe on what this well-wisher has done to us. Unfortunately, we just spoke with him on phone while being lodged in the city. May almighty Lord, add more blessings to this well-wisher,” said Dalitso Kayira, Simon’s guardian.

Kayira added: “With the support being given, we have hope that our relative, Simon, will recover fully and able to contribute to our family needs.

“We are also grateful to our Constituency lawmaker Chidumpha Mkandawire for visiting us when we were in Lilongwe. Mkandawire gave Simon upkeep and encouraged him to be strong”.

Simon is expected to undergo two months rehabilitation at Saint John of God in Mzuzu with financial support from a well-wisher.

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