Fare Thee Well Shanil!

Patricia Shanil Dzimbiri

At exactly 02:50 PM on Friday, the casket carrying remains of the former first lady of the Republic of Malawi, Patricia Shanil Dzimbiri was lowered down into her final resting place at a graveyard, about 200 meters away from her residence.

“A patriotic, selfless woman is gone but, she will forever remain in the hearts of many,” that is how she was described by the thousands of people that came to pay their last respects.

The late Dzimbiri died in a plane crash owned by the Malawi Defense Forces (MDF) in Chikangawa forest, Mzimba District. She is among the nine people who perished alongside the country’s vice president Dr.Saulos Klaus Chilima as they were en route to attend a funeral ceremony of renowned lawyer and former attorney general and Minister of Justice, Ralph Kasambara.

In his sermon, Reverend Dr. Father Joseph Kim described the former first lady as a selfless and humble individual who believed in philanthropy.

Earlier on, Fr. Kim described the death of the nine in the accident as catastrophic and a great loss to the Nation of Malawi.

He said that the circumstances of the plane crash remain a mystery and have left the country in shock. He however said this should not warrant chaos and divisions in the country.

“It is a painful thing to lose nine people at once in a such painful circumstance. Our hearts are burdened with sorrow. However, let us be strong and believe that one day, the truth about the accident will surely be known,” said Fr. Kim.

Earlier on, former state president Dr Joyce Banda described the late Dzimbiri as a woman of substance who was humble and committed to prayer and charity work.

Dzimbiri was accorded a state funeral befitting her as she served as the first lady of Malawi as the wife to President Dr Bakili Muluzi from 1999 to 2004.

Born to David and Sylvia Dzimbiri of Chimpikizo village, Traditional Authority Chamthunya in Balaka District, the late Dzimbiri was a professional teacher. After assuming the role of first lady of the Republic, Dzimbiri became a fervent advocate for the importance of educating a girl child.

In the political arena, Dzimbiri served as a member of Parliament for the Balaka West constituency after winning the parliamentary race on an independent ticket. She later on joined the United Transformation Movement (UTM) where she was the National Director of Women’s Affairs.

Some of the high-ranking officials who attended the funeral ceremony include; former presidents of Malawi Dr Bakili Muluzi and Dr Joyce Banda, former vice president Khumbo Kachali, Speaker of the national assembly Catherine Gotani Hara, former first lady Gertrude Mutharika, DPP vice president for the Eastern Region Bright Msaka, minister of water and ssanitation Abida Mia, leader of PDP Kondwani Nankhumwa, former minister of finance Joseph Mwanamvekha, former reserve bank governor Dalitso Kabambe, UTM spokesperson Felix Njawala among others.

The late Dzimbiri is survived by 5 children and 7 grandchildren.


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