Kamuzu Academy Classics Department

The Classical Tradition in Malawi

Prancing and Pranking and Proclaiming Caesar
Dr. H. Kamuzu Banda and the Classical Tradition in Malawi

The handout for delegates to the Conference is available here (.pdf).

On 21st November, 1981 His Excellency the Life President the Ngwazi Dr. H. Kamuzu Banda opened the Academy which bears his name with a speech which extends to twenty-one pages of typescript.[1] The first nineteen pages consist in an account of how missionaries brought education to Malawi and of how one of their pupils, a village boy of Kasungu district, having learned his first letters under a kachere tree in the village of Mtunthama, began a remarkable journey of learning which took him to South Africa, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ghana and back to Nyasaland, where, in 1964, he was to lead the country to independence as the Republic of Malawi and to become its first President: that pupil is, of course, Kamuzu Banda himself; and the Academy which he opened in 1981 is established at the site of the same kachere tree. It is a moving story, which has received attention elsewhere.[2] However, on page twenty, Kamuzu Banda strikes out on a new note: ‘The Academy is being established for the main purpose of teaching the Classics, the ancient world, ancient people, the world of Greece, Rome, if not Persia and Egypt; the Greeks and the Romans, if not the Persians and the Egyptians.’ This he repeats in characteristic manner until he concludes with a remarkable peroration: ‘A boy or girl leaving the Academy must be able to prance and prank and say: “Gallia est omnes [sic] divisa in partes tres, quorum unam incolunt Belgae…”’ Kamuzu Banda continues to declaim sixteen lines of Caesar’s Gallic Wars in Latin to the admiration – and perhaps bemusement and bewilderment – of an audience which would have included the first pupils of the Academy and their expatriate schoolmasters.[3]


Kamuzu Banda’s insistence on the introduction of Classical learning to Malawi dates to his State Address on the occasion of the State Opening of Parliament of 24th September, 1978: ‘Some subjects that are not being taught now at the University should be introduced. For example, Latin as a language is not being taught at the University of Malawi. And yet, the University is granting degrees, B.A.’s, M.A.’s… To me, to call a man B.A., M.A., when he does not know a single word of Latin, is deceiving people…’[4] His rebuke prompted a flurry of activity. Robert Ogilvie, Professor of Humanity at the University of St. Andrews, visited Malawi in June to July, 1979: his subsequent report offered recommendations, of a fairly obvious sort, as to how a Classics Department might be established at the University of Malawi.[5] David Kimble, Vice-Chancellor of the University, took up the idea with alacrity – as well he might: in an address of quite remarkable sycophancy, which he delivered before Kamuzu Banda on 27th October, 1979, he takes every opportunity to flatter the President (who is, of course, also the Chancellor) with a schoolboy knowledge of Latin derivations and inflections (‘the word datum comes… from… do, dare, dedi, datum’, indeed!) and extends his assurance that Ogilvie’s report will be acted upon without delay.[6]


Even then, little would have happened but for the enterprise of an American, Caroline Alexander, who, in 1982, becoming tired of coaching the Florida State football team in English and the humanities, dispatched a circular to English-speaking institutions in Africa offering her services.[7] A grateful Dean of Humanities, perhaps conscious of Presidential displeasure at the delay, wrote to invite her, not only to visit but also to establish the teaching of the Classics at the University. Alexander did just this; and she led this lonely outpost of Classical learning until 1985, when it acquired departmental status. There is a lively account of her experiences in the New Yorker.[8]


The Classics Department exists still at the University of Malawi – although it is unfortunate that, just as Edward Jenner, a successor to Alexander, lamented in his 2001 article for Scholia, ten years on, the University is closed once again by decree of a different President.[9] Steve Nyamilandu, who has just completed a second M.A. at the University of South Africa, is currently the only full-time lecturer.[10]


However, it is not the purpose of this paper to discuss the teaching of Classics at the University. As far as Classical studies in Malawi are concerned, it is ground relatively well trodden. Let us return to Kamuzu Banda’s exhortation to the boys and girls of his Academy to prance and prank and proclaim Caesar. There are, alas, many questions concerning Kamuzu Banda’s relationship with the Classics which must remain outside the scope of this paper: for example, why he should have wished to proclaim Caesar[11] and what he might have learned from him.[12] These must await a more substantial treatment. We shall allow ourselves, however, a question which the original audience dared not to ask: namely, how well Kamuzu Banda could proclaim Caesar.


If you travel North from Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, on the M1, which leads eventually to the Tanzanian border, you will reach, after two hours or so, Kasungu, the boma of Kamuzu Banda’s home district. On the flanks of Mount Kasungu, which dominates the plain, Kamuzu Banda built a palace, Nguru-ya-Nawambe. (The name commemorates a rare victory of the Chewa over the invading Ngoni in the nineteenth century.) Off to one side of the palace there is a pavilion, which contains what is now called the Dr. H. Kamuzu Banda Memorial Library. Thanks to the kind invitation of the Hon. Jane Dzanjalimodzi and Mr. Edwin Banda, I was able to spend three days in the library over the month of May in order to make a catalogue of items of Classical interest. I counted sixty-eight: they extend from a copy of Ecce Romani 1 to a 1584 Aldine Press edition of Caesar’s Commentaries. Although the catalogue is really the subject of a separate paper, I shall make passing reference to it in what follows.


In pride of place in Kamuzu Banda’s study, which adjoins the library, is a framed set of report cards (item 66), which record Kamuzu Banda’s progress at the Wilberforce Academy, Ohio, from 1925 to 1928. He arrived at the Academy to complete his High School Diploma from Johannesburg at the age of twenty-seven:  he had secured a scholarship from the American Methodist Episcopal Church which governed this ‘Negro university’. The report cards are of interest in at least three ways: for they attest to the fact that Kamuzu Banda studied Latin for two years (he secured A and B grades, incidentally); and it cannot be co-incidental that he was later to insist on all masters of Kamuzu Academy, in whatever discipline, having studied Latin for at least two years. Furthermore, as he was to declare in a speech which I possess only in fragments, the inspiration for the name of the Academy, if not Plato’s, was Wilberforce. Although Kamuzu Banda was later to pursue his studies in the humanities at the Universities of Indiana and Chicago (where he was to prove a valuable informant for Stith Thompson in his researches into Bantu folklore and for Mark Hanna Watkins in his seminal Grammar of Chichewa[13]), I have no evidence that his formal study of the Classics extended beyond his time at Wilberforce Academy.


It is unfortunate that few of the books of Classical interest display signs of personal use. This is in contrast to those books which might be assumed to reflect his real interests: his medical text-books and his lives of the great men of European history. However, his signature appears in Sellery and Krey’s Medieval Foundations of Western Civilization(item 58); and his stamp appears in volumes of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (items 30 – 31)and Robinson’s A History of the Roman Republic (item 55). He would have read these books long before he returned to Nyasaland. The date of many of the remaining books is consonant with acquisition either at or around the seminal year 1978, when Kamuzu Banda made his Classical interests known.


The books display little evidence of serious linguistic knowledge or scholarship: for example, the absence of standard dictionaries and grammars is remarkable; and the selection of texts is very uneven. However, it is most satisfying, in the light of his exhortation to the boys and girls of Kamuzu Academy, to observe that no fewer than eleven items in the catalogue consist in editions, translations and studies of Caesar (items 14 – 24, 65): the majority are school-boy texts; but they include the Aldine Press edition, or, as I would like to call it, the ‘Nguru-ya-Nawambe Caesar’. Caesar is exactly the taste we would expect in a Life President.


(Unfortunately, there is no evidence for any interest in Greek philosophy – if the reference to a 1511 Venetian edition of Aristotle’s Parva Naturalia in Donald Brody’s article of 1997 is disregarded. This is unfortunate: for Caroline Alexander would see, not entirely ironically, Kamuzu Banda’s project, in which she played so important a role, as being to establish in Malawi what Plato himself had failed to establish in Sicily: namely the ‘Ideal State’ of the title of her article).


Otherwise, evidence is hard to discover. Sycophancy is a way of life in Malawi; and eulogies of the all-knowledge and wisdom of Kamuzu Banda from the pens of authors both African and European are as common as they are worthless for our purpose.[14] However, I have discovered two references to the Classical languages in public speeches (doubtless there are more) – and, unfortunately, both contain howlers. The first, which could, with charity, be dismissed as a typo (if it were not for a similar typo in the Kamuzu Academy Opening Speech), occurs in the Malawi Congress Party Convention Opening Speech of 1st September, 1974. Kamuzu Banda is addressing the question of Portuguese colonial rule. In his quaintly didactic and rather obvious way he opens with the comment, ‘Portugal is one of the countries in Europe that comes under the term Latin countries, as opposed to Teutonic countries.’ This allows him to aver: ‘The Romans had a saying which went like this, “Divide et empero”, “Divide and rule”. The Portuguese government in Lisbon is trying to practise that policy in Mozambique now, the policy of divide and rule.’[15] More compelling, however, because it suggests thought, is his attempt to explain the etymology of ‘democracy’ in the State Address on the occasion of the State Opening of Parliament of 10th July, 1987: ‘Well, to me, this is democracy’, he begins. ‘This is the meaning of democracy. Demo, in Greek, singular, demos, plural, means one person and more than one person, respectively. Krateo, I govern, I rule, I control. Therefore, democracy means government of the people, by the people, for the people, as Abraham Lincoln put it at Gettysburg more than one hundred years ago.’[16]We might reflect that, following the logic of Kamuzu Banda’s etymology, there arises an understanding of democracy which is, perhaps, distinctly more Malawian (and congenial to a Life President and his successors) than American.


I note, however, one thing else from my reading in Kamuzu Banda’s speeches. He is very keen to draw attention to the fact that Malawi is divided into three regions. For example, from the State Address of 13th November, 1979, ‘Generally, the North was the poorest of the three Regions.’[17] Could this, I wonder, be a humbler explanation for his affection for the Gallic Wars? Indeed, note the rhythm of the following, from the State Address of 24th October, 1984: ‘There are three Regions in this country, North, South, Centre. Of the three Regions…’[18] It is an attractive thought.


Let us return to the Kamuzu Academy Opening Speech. In short, if Kamuzu Banda could praise Caesar, it is, I think, unlikely that he could parse him. But arguably that is not the most important quality in a Life President. What has been the effect of his exhortation over the thirty years which have passed since the Opening Speech?


The fortunes of African institutions rise and fall with their patrons: Kamuzu Banda fell from power in 1994; and those of Kamuzu Academy, alas, fell in large part with him.[19] However, even today, the Classics Department has a complement of five: four expatriates (all Oxford men) and one Malawian (a former seminarian who continued to read Latin at the University of Malawi).[20] In the lower school (the three years prior to the first IGCSE year), Latin is a mandatory subject for three and Greek for two years. Either Greek or Latin is mandatory to IGCSE (although there is a select group of pupils which chuses to offer both); and both subjects are offered as electives to AS and A2 levels. For what it is worth, last year the Department entered fifty-eight and seventy-six candidates for IGCSE Greek and Latin respectively (securing A – C pass rates of 83 and 69 per cent); two for AS Greek (A and B grades) and four for AS Latin (B, C and E grades).[21] These figures compare favourably, at school-level, with those for South Africa as a whole: twenty-two matriculated in Latin in 2008.


The Department employs a combination of CIE and OCR papers. Herein lies a problem, for OCR is a UK domestic examination board and CIE offers only IGCSE Latin. Special dispensation must be secured on an annual basis – and in return for a substantial fee – to use OCR papers. It is doubtful that the situation is sustainable. However, as matters stand, the syllabus offers an attractive mixture of language- and text- based work.


I would be reluctant for this paper to degenerate into shop. However, there is inherent interest, beyond the parochial, in enquiring briefly as to how a Classics Department which is situated under a kachere tree in the midst of rural Malawi, but inhabits a building modelled with Romanesque arches and with a main thoroughfare known popularly as the Appian Way, has conducted itself over the thirty years of its history so as to fulfill its Presidential mandate to instruct its pupils – selected, in its early years, as now, to include the rural poor as well as the urban rich – in Greek and Latin.[22]


It would appear not always to have been easy. In a MS note to his successor, Dr. Paul McKechnie, Jack Dawson, Head of Department from 1981 to 1987, wrote of ‘The Politics of Classics at Kamuzu Academy’: ‘The president says “Classics for all” because he believes no one’s education is complete without a measure of Classics. Fair enough! The problem arises in the interpretation of that instruction and in the fact that for six years there has been comparatively little support for the principle by successive Headmasters and opposition among the staff’.[23] He continues to mention the difficulty of motivating able pupils, who do not have the goal of Classical scholarships at the end of their studies, and less able pupils, whose English is inadequate to serve as the medium for the acquisition of a third and a fourth language. From reading in what survives of the Departmental files, all three problems have recurred in various forms over the years up to the present.


Dr. Paul McKechnie, incidentally, survived the experience of leading the Department until 1992.[24] He is currently Associate Professor in Ancient Cultures at Maquarie University, Australia, where he has published extensively on the Ptolemaic world.[25] Other Ph.D.’s to be counted among the members of the Department include the incumbent Head, Stephen Marsh, an analytic philosopher, and another who shall remain nameless – because he has subsequently made a name for himself in the United States –  who ran away to Hawaii, leaving a forwarding address in Honolulu.[26]


McKechnie’s methodology would appear to be typical of those who came before and after him. In a lecture delivered to the Classics Teachers’ Conference at Chancellor’s College, Zomba, he describes the approach taken to the teaching of Greek and Latin in what at the time were the two pre-IGCSE years.[27] Rather as with Ogilvie’s before him, at a different level, his paper is an exercise in sound Oxford pedagogical sense. He emphasizes at some length that an education in the Classical languages imparts an ability to think: a universal argument which is applicable to African as to European. He comments on the special needs of pupils who, coming in his day largely from villages, could not be expected to have even the beginnings of a background knowledge to the subjects; and whose English was very inadequate to the task. He finds the contextualized passages of Ecce Romani much more helpful in this regard than the isolated examples of Wilding’s Greek for Beginners. Towards the end of his essay, he points the way to inviting pupils to make cultural comparisons: he has pupils, for example, who are writing coursework essays comparing the Roman and the East Coast slave trades. He concludes: ‘If any one of us can make a student think – can turn him or her for a few minutes from the small ambitions which are driving my students (and yours too) to get the pieces of paper which will make them into doctors or accountants or whatever it is – and can make this student work out in the mind what the human implications are of building a great nation (like Rome) or of having conflicting feelings and loyalties – then I think on the day we achieve that result, we’ve done a good day’s work for the student, and for education, and for Malawi.’


There is, I would suggest, very little to disagree with there. For those who would subject his methodology to criticism, a new and excellent starting point is Martin Lambert’s discussion of the experience of Margaret Wakerley and Jan Els, teachers at the University of the Transkei and Fort Hare, respectively, in the 1980’s and 1990’s.[28] McKechnie would appear to steer a middle course between the Scylla of the high-handed imposition of a superior culture and the Charybdis of the foolish creation of facetious points of cultural contact.


From amidst the rubble of the 1980’s emerges the picture of a Classics Department growing increasingly in confidence. We see the introduction of Greek, for example, and the suggestion (subsequently dismissed) that both languages should be made mandatory to A-level. Presidential patronage is ubiquitous: for example, item 46 in the library catalogue, a copy of Masson’s The Companion Guide to Rome, is the gift to His Excellency from grateful pupils who had visited West Germany and Rome; and item 62, a handsome nineteenth-century edition of Terence, is one of two inscribed gifts of the Headmaster of Eton College to Kamuzu Banda. There would be reciprocal visits of pupils; and on one of these Kamuzu Academy was famously described as the Eton of Africa (and Eton College as the Kamuzu Academy of Windsor). Note, incidentally, the donnish witticism: P. Terentius Afer. Also touching is the page of the 1986 edition of the school magazine, Kachere, which is devoted to the ‘Sodalitas Latina’. Edvardvus Mtitimila describes how almost one hundred fellow-enthusiasts, from the Academy, the University and other schools, meet in order to pursue Latin ‘per ludos, phonocassettas, cantica Latina, pelliculas cinematographias, modaumve [sic] alium docendi’. Alas, the Sodalitas has gone the way of all that lovingly Latinized 1980’s technology.


The fall of Kamuzu Banda in 1994 did not cause immediate disruption. However, the replacement of the whole Classics Department in 1997 (which is also the year of his death) led to considerable loss of collective memory. Although a fair measure of stability – under difficult circumstances – has maintained since then,[29] it is unlikely that this can be sustained for much longer unless conditions change so that teaching at the Academy becomes attractive once again to expatriate teachers who are dependent on their employment for their income.


However, as matters are, the Classics Department continues to fulfill its Presidential mandate. Our pupils include the sons and daughters of African presidents and clever children from remote villages: all alike learn Greek and Latin. I would comment, personally, that the chief pleasure of teaching at the Academy consists in witnessing the fresh interest brought to bear on the old stories, especially by those pupils who are closest to their origins in the villages and their story-telling traditions. It is gratifying also that these pupils also often have a better command of formal Greek and Latin grammar than they do of English. There is also very considerable freedom in teaching at the Academy, which, as ever, might be used for good or for evil. Two former colleagues must serve to illustrate the good to which it might be turned. Adam Stevenson (2004 – 2007) has written a number of Presidential eulogies and other poems in Latin verse: they include an elegiac composition in the manner of the Double Heroides, in which Kamuzu Banda somewhat anachronistically addresses Mama C. Tamanda Kadzamira, the future Official Hostess, from Gwelo Prison. It is, perhaps, the first authentically Malawian corpus of Latin poetry.[30] And, as illustrated, Alexander Suebsaeng (2009 – 2011) has arranged a most satisfying production of a BBC adaptation of the encounter of Odysseus and Circe. The incorporation of drumming and mask- and weapon- making technology from Kayeya village worked to excellent effect.


On this happy image of ‘prancing and pranking’ it is necessary to leave Kamuzu Academy and to look further afield: there remain, of course, important questions as to whether or not the Academy’s foundation was well conceived.[31] I know of no other educational institutions in Malawi except for the major and minor seminaries of the Catholic Church to teach Latin: but at some of these at least, heroic work is conducted, with teachers who know little more than their pupils and with almost no books.[32] I propose, however, to conclude with the briefest glance at three instances in which the Classics would appear to have caught fire in their Malawian home and to have blazed up for a time with a life of their own.


My first example is the epic poetry of Steve Chimombo, Professor of English emeritus at the University of Malawi. It would be difficult to defend works such as The ‘Vipya’ Poem (on the loss of the vessel of that name on Lake Malawi in 1946), Epic of the Forest Creatures (a political allegory) and Python! Python! (which is inspired by the Mbona rain cult of Nsanje district) on purely literary grounds.[33] They are, however, undoubtedly written with an eye (if not an ear) to epic convention. On the naming of the Vipya, for example: ‘Tell me, watery muse, tell us // why the name of ‘Vipya’ at all?’ I had hoped to travel to Zomba to secure an interview with Chimombo to enquire about his inspiration – but I was prevented by the closure of the University.


My second example is the adaptation of The Frogs by Nanzikambe Arts, which I happened upon towards the end of an up-country tour at Kungoni Centre of Culture and Art, Mua Mission in December, 2009. Nanzikambe is the creation of a South African director, William LeCordeur, and a Malawian cast.[34] The cast had rewritten the Greek original in Chichewa and English (code-switching, but also with a view to whether its audience was rural or urban) to refer to points of widely-accepted Malawian cultural and historical reference. For example, the synopsis begins: ‘Prof. Dionysus, and his servant Xanthias, are on a journey to KuMidima (the underworld) to bring back an extraordinary cultural expert who, by providing insight and expertise, will help save the art of performance in Malawi which is on the brink of disaster.’ The battle which concludes the play is waged, not between Aeschylus and Euripides, but between Makewana (the traditional guardian of the rain shrine) and Du Chisiza Jnr. (a Malawian writer who died young). The script, which I have read in the form it assumed on 26th July, 2009, is an extraordinarily entertaining and sophisticated work, which is true to the spirit of Aristophanes.[35] According to Fr. Claude Boucher, the Director of the KuNgoni Centre of Culture and Art, the play was largely lost on its rural audience at Mua, and, with its explicit enactment of initiation scenes and scatological reference, may well have caused offence. I do not know whether it succeeded in urban centres.


Finally, I would draw your attention to one of Malawi’s two new best-selling autobiographical novels: Samson Kambalu’s The Jive-Talker.[36] Kambalu, the son of an itinerant Nietzchean clinical officer, was a pupil at the Academy in the early 1990’s, following the Classical curriculum, when he chose to undergo initiation into Nyau, the secret society of the Chewa people of Malawi, which is responsible for the distinctive gule wamkulu, or great dance.[37] The gule characters are considered to embody the ancestors, who return to their people from the grave to impart and, if not observed, to enforce the mwambo (which is best translated by Latin ‘mos’). At some risk to his well-being – the penalty for profaning the secrets of Nyau is impalement – he describes his initiation and the process whereby he created the gule character which he would later perform: Sisero, the Roman orator, complete with toga, scroll and (for no particular reason) stilts. Classical education and Chewa traditional religion have, for a brief moment, come together.


It is doubtful that Kamuzu Banda intended consequence such as this on that distant day in 1981 when he exhorted the boys and girls of his Academy to prance and prank and proclaim Caesar. However, as we grow tired of saying in Malawi, ex Africa semper aliquid novi.

[1] Kamuzu Academy Opening Speech, 21st November, 1981, MS (Dr. H. Kamuzu Banda Memorial Library)

[2] e.g. SHORT, P.: Banda (London, 1974), capp. 1 and 2.

[3] Under Kamuzu Banda all schoolmasters were expatriate.

[4] p.14

[5] OGILVIE, R. M.: Classical Studies in Malawi: A Report made during a visit, June to July, 1979 [non vidi]. See also MEIGGS, R.: ‘R. M. Ogilvie’, Proceedings of the British Academy (1982) 627 – 636. Meiggs implies (p. 635) that Ogilvie’s work in Malawi contributed to the strain which led him to take his own life on 7th November, 1981.

[6] The Chancellor and the University: Address by Dr. David Kimble, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Malawi, to the Congregation held in Zomba on 27 October 1979.

[7] ALEXANDER, C.: ‘An Ideal State’, New Yorker, vol. 67 / 43 (Dec. 16, 1991), pp. 53 – 88.

[8] She has continued to make a name for herself as an author of works of history. The most recent reflects a return to her Classical formation: The War That Killed Achilles: The True Story of Homer’s Iliad and the Trojan War (2009).

[9] JENNER, E.: ‘A Short History of the Department of Classics, Chancellor College, University of Malawi’, Scholia: Studies in Classical Antiquity 10 (2001) 161 – 169.

[10] The last word is by USHER, M.: ‘A Piggyback and Personal Account of Classics in Malawi’, <http://www.chs-fellows.org/blog/languagesandliterature/a-piggyback-and-personal-account-of-classics-in-malawi-2/>, posted 4th February, 2011 (accessed May, 2011).

[11] I know of no summary of the intellectual climate which migrant Malawian workers (such as Kamuzu Banda) inhabited in the Johannesburg of the 1910’ and 20’s. However, LAMBERT, M.: The Classics and South African Identities (London and New York, 2011), cap. 3 has much to say on the significance attached to Classics by black South Africans in the period as the mark of educational attainment equal to that of Europeans. It is likely that Kamuzu Banda would have found much to admire in the views of John Tengo Jabavu: pp. 98 ff.

[12] POWER, J.: Political Culture and Nationalism in Malawi: Building Kwacha (Rochester, NY and Woodbridge, 2010) offers a commentary on MAPANJE, J.: ‘Afterword. The Orality of Dictatorship: In Defence of My Country’, in A Democracy of Chameleons: Politics and Culture in the New Malawi, ed. H. ENGLUND (Blantyre, 2002). Although it is a paper yet to be written, ‘The Orality of Dictatorship’ suggests immediately Tacitus’ depiction of Tiberius.

[13] WATKINS, M. H.: A Grammar of Chichewa: A Bantu Language of British Central Africa (Pennsylvania, 1937). ‘All the information was obtained from Kamuzu Banda, a native Chewa, while he was in attendance at the University of Chicago, from 1930 to 1932… Mr. Banda was a very excellent informant, and without his cooperation this study would contain many more defects than it does.’ (p. 7)

[14] See, for example, the most recent biography of Kamuzu Banda: Tracing the Footsteps of Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda, K. J. MGAWI (Blantyre, 2005), which bears interesting comparison to a medieval saint’s vita; and the shameless exercises in self-promotion and the currying of favour by Dr. Donald A. Brody, former Honorary Consul General of the United States to Malawi and a Governor of Kamuzu Academy, in, for example, his foreword to SIMANGO, C., H. SOMANJE and N. DAUSI: Kamuzu: Memories of the Father and Founder of the Malawi Nation (Blantyre, undated) and his article, ‘The Library of Dr. H. Kamuzu Banda’ Daily Times of 2nd December, 1997.

[15] p. 36

[16] pp. 1 – 2

[17] p. 2

[18] p. 3

[19] It is regrettable that the Headmaster of Kamuzu Academy [...] who has been associated with the Academy since 1982, withheld his support from the writing of this paper. He is, however, a man who believes that he has lived previous lives. In moments of anamnesis, preceded by expressions which introduce the life, he has revealed these to be: a hoplite soldier at Thermopylae (‘push push’); a charioteer on the plains of Mesopotamia (‘battles, battles, flowing, flowing’) and a crusader before the walls of Acre (‘bloody’). I am indebted to my former colleague in the Classics Department, David Jones, for his help in undertaking the arduous task of eliciting this information. As history teacher, [...]'s views on the use of elephants at the Battle of Marathon require a separate paper.

[20] Namely Andrew Goodson, Dr. Stephen Marsh (Head of Department), McDonald Phoya, Alexander Suebsaeng and myself. It is unlikely that numbers will be sustained at this level.

[21] In 2009, one pupil, Chifuno Stevens, secured her B grade in Greek, before taking up a place here, at Rhodes University, although, alas, to read something else: I have happy memories of reading the Phaedo and Iliad 24 with her in the Bundu.

[22] ‘Meanwhile, His Excellency the Life President has reiterated his instruction “that Latin should occupy a central place in the curriculum, and that all teachers should have at least some Latin in their academic background”’: A Progress Report on the Kamuzu Academy 1981.

[23] Personal communication, 30th July, 1987

[24] The succession is David Lane 1991 – 1997; Andrew Goodson 1997 – 2002; Verity Walden 2002 – 2003, and Stephen Marsh 2003 +

[25] Ogilvie’s and McKechnie’s authorial donations to the Dr. H. Kamuzu Bandu Library are among its few works of contemporary Classical scholarship. So far as I know, the only other former member of the Department to have published on Classical matters is Edward Jenner, who has produced an elegant translation and commentary to Ibycus.

[26] [...]

[27] McKECHNIE, P. R.: Approaches to Learning Latin and Greek in Forms One and Two at Kamuzu Academy, MS (August, 1998)

[28] LAMBERT, ibid. He offers a detailed analysis of WAKERLEY, M.: ‘Latin at the University of the Transkei’, Akroterion 27 (3/4, 1982) 97 – 103 and ‘Law Students Like Latin – The Unitra Latin Course’, Akroterion 30 (4, 1985) 100 – 103; and ELS, J. M.: ‘The Course in Classical Culture at Fort Hare’, Akroterion 39 (3/4, 1994) 164 – 168 [non vidi].

[29] The longevity of Andrew Goodson (1997 – 2002, 2007 +) and Dr. Stephen Marsh (1999 +), both of whom are exiles from teaching in England, is largely responsible for this. McDonald Phoya has proved much the longest serving Malawian member of the Department, which promises well.

[30] It is printed in an appendix as the Corpus Adamsonense.

[31] For criticism of Kamuzu Academy, see LWANDA, J. L.: Kamuzu Banda of Malawi: A Study in Promise, Power and Legacy: Malawi under Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda (1961 – 1994) (Zomba, 2009) and PHIRI, K. M. and K. R. ROSS: Democratization in Malawi – A Stocktaking (Blantyre, 1998), ad loc.

[32] I have visited Mzimu Woyera and St. Pius XII minor seminaries, at Chikwawa and Nguludi respectively. St. Kizito minor seminary, Dedza, also teaches Latin. MANEB (the national examination board) now offers only JCE (junior certificate) Latin.

[33] (Zomba, 1996, 2005 and 2005). His other work includes plays, a novel on epic scale (The Wrath of Napolo), short stories and essays.

[34] Nanzikambe Arts is currently completing a tour in Germany. See <www.nanzikambe.org>.

[35] NANZIKAMBE: The Frogs: An Adaptation of Aristophanes’ The Frogs, MS (1st Performed 11 July 2009; 1st Written Draft 26 July 2009)

[36] KAMBALU, S.: The Jive Talker, Or How to Get a British Passport (London, 2008)

[37] The seminal study is forthcoming: BOUCHER CHISALE, C. and G. MORGAN: When Animals Sing and Spirits Dance: Gule Wamkulu: The Great Dance of the Chewa People of Malawi (Mua Mission, 2012)

Richard Hewitt

The Biennial Conference of the Classical Association of South Africa
Rhodes University, Grahamstown (2011)