Poet David Rubadiri dies at 88


Malawian diplomat, academician and poet Professor David Rubadiri has died aged 88.

The former Vice Chancellor of the University of Malawi died on Saturday afternoon at Mzuzu Central Hospital.

Writer Onjezani Kenani said on Facebook: My greatest memories of him go back to the time he was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Malawi, when he would invite me for a night at his house. Sitting there in his well-stocked library talking literature until the deep and dark hours of the night was bliss. As Kenyan playwright David Mulwa says, ‘David Rubadiri was a great philosopher, if I ever knew of one.’ He was that, yes, and he was also a diplomat and a leader. Rest in peace, my dear friend and mentor. Rest in eternal peace.”

Rubadiri’s grandchild Victoria Rubadiri, a Kenyan TV presenter, said her grandfather still inspires many people in Africa through his words.

“This literary giant now rests. Prof. David Rubadiri breathed his last today, but his words continue to inspire so many across this great continent. His legacy is one I could never live up to. The name he gave me is one I will continue to carry with pride. Rest in peace Babu,” she said.

Rubadiri attended King’s College, Budo in Uganda from 1941 to 1950 and then went to Makerere University where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and History.

He later studied Literature at King’s College, Cambridge and he went on to receive a Diploma in Education from the University of Bristol.

Rubadiri was Malawi’s first ambassador to the United States and the United Nations. Rubadiri left the Malawi government in 1965 and went into exile.

He taught at Makerere University, University of Nairobi, University of Ibadan in Nigeria and University of Botswana where he was dean of the Language and Social Sciences Education Department.

In 2000 he was named vice-chancellor of the University of Malawi.

His novel No Bride Price published in 1967 criticised the Kamuzu Banda administration while his poetry was published in 1963 in the anthology Modern Poetry of Africa.



  1. M.H.S.R.I.P….the legends live on forever. What matters the most in life is what you did when you were alive, the change and impact to other people’s lives. Not only Malawi, but the entire academic world will remember you prof.

Comments are closed.