“This is not Reverend John Chilembwe’s grave yard but it’s a mass grave for his friends who were executed here” recalls Eneless Nampinga who in her old age still remembers everything she was told by her late father Nampinga who witnessed the 1915 execution. The historical legendary story of John Chilembwe’s story leaves a lot to be desired. The history of Chilembwe is explained in brief as if he was an alien in Malawi. However, some historians have tried to explain his educational life, his missionary work at Mbombwe, the causes of his uprising and death.
History tells us that Chilembwe was shot by the colonial masters but his burial site has not been located up to now. Let Malawians believe that the efforts are being made to locate the burial site of the martyr. In another effort to follow up the story of the legend, it has been discovered that some of Chilembwe’s accomplices were executed and buried in a mass grave. “Many people who pass by this road think that this is Chilembwe’s grave” says the soft spoken Nampinga. According to our source, fourteen people who were alleged to be Chilembwe’s followers were caught by the colonial soldiers and were executed in Nampinga village after the 15th January 1915 uprising. The fifteenth conspirator escaped the fate after he had jumped and grabbed the executor who was holding a riffle. He failed to execute because it was a close range and the authorities ruled in his favour to continue exercising his right to life in Nyasaland.
It is very pathetic that little is known about this place and about these martyrs. Worse enough the mass grave is wrecked and nobody is responsible for taking care of the memorial site. Nampinga explains that some Providence Industrial Mission church elders preserved the site some years ago but since they passed away, no one has shown interest to rehabilitate the historical site and not even a sign or a pillar is there to remind the people of the dark cloud that fell on Nampinga village in T/A Kaduya in Phalombe district. As martyrs day and Chilembwe day fast approaches every year, let Malawi remember other heroes who died fighting for the freedom of this country.