By DAVE CHIBESA and ELIAS CHIPEPO-
A VETERAN Journalist Simon Mwale, 65, was put to rest in Lusaka yesterday at Leopards Hill Memorial Park.
Like the Biblical namesake Simon who was made the fisher of men, one would not hesitate to beckon him into an undertaking that he knew best: writing.
Simon, who died on November 7, 2021, in Lusaka, was a clean-shaven gentleman, sporting an above-average flyweight boxer height and his manner of approach in public life was plainly modest.
In his prime, Simon still found time to also compile another column titled: ‘It Happened To Me’ for the Saturday edition of the Times of Zambia.
This entailed a series of feature articles somewhat written as undercover biographies!
He also exhibited an introvert soft-spoken character with considerable cognitive skills especially in writing about boxing in his favourite pastime ‘Boxing Ring’ column (Times of Zambia).
By his looks, one could not easily associate his intrinsic passion for a sport like boxing that called for robust muscle-flexing and punching prowess meant to floor an opponent where possible!
In relation to his personality, boxing could not be imagined to be Simon’s favourite sport at first glance, but his vivid description of pugilist encounters between boxers brought out his innate desire for the sport to light.
In this respect, it was no wonder that in 2014, the Times of Zambia published the following report:
THE Zambia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (ZPBWCB) has appointed Simon Mwale as its new board secretary.
According to a statement released in Lusaka yesterday, Mwale’s appointment is effective February 1.
Mwale takes over as secretary from ZPBWCB’s technical sub-committee chairperson, Chris Mulenga, who was in an acting position following Ben Saili’s departure in February last year.
ZPBWCB chairperson Nelson Sapi said Mwale emerged as an outstanding candidate for the position and that he brings to the board his depth of knowledge and experience in matters related to boxing.
“After a rigorous selection process, Mwale emerged as the outstanding candidate to be the secretary of our board. He brings a great depth of knowledge and experience in matters related to boxing as evidenced from his influential and insightful columns from years of writing first, for the Zambia Daily Mail, and now Times of Zambia.
“I’m delighted to welcome him on behalf of our board. He joins the board at an incredibly exciting time when Zambia is about to stage two World Boxing Council title fights,” Sapi said.
He expressed confidence that Mwale’s journalistic background will be an asset to the board in raising its profile and thanked Mulenga for the work rendered to the board during the past 12 months.
“We look forward to working with Mwale and all our stakeholders in the year ahead. I thank Mulenga for his wonderful work these past months as he reverts to his substantive role of technical chairperson on our board,” he said.
And Mwale, formerly Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company (LWSC) public relations manager, said he was honoured to be joining the ZPBWCB and that he was looking ahead to the opportunities and challenges.
“I’m honoured to be joining the board at this time. I believe that God has opened this door for a purpose. It’s particularly thrilling to be part of the vibrant board which is determined to take the sport to new levels,” he said.
Mwale’s key areas of responsibility include controlling and regulating professional boxing in Zambia as well as promoting and safeguarding the interests of members of the ZPBWCB.
These include organisation of boxing tournaments, licensing and registration of stables, managers and boxers throughout the world.
At large, Simon found time to also compile another column titled: ‘It Happened to Me’ for the daily edition of the Times of Zambia as a Correspondent.
Prior to his demise on November 7, 2021, after a short illness in Lusaka, Mr Simon Mwale was also board member for the Zambia Daily Mail.
He was appointed in 2018.
In an interview with Zambia Daily Mail, Mr Mwale’s wife Pamela disclosed that her husband fell ill last month and was later diagnosed with cancer of the stomach “which he struggled with until his death.”
Simon Mwale has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Cavendish University Zambia and a Post-graduate Diploma in Journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communications.
He worked for British Petroleum (BP) Zambia, LWSC, Times Printpak, Zambia Daily Mail and finally as a board member.
Following his death, social media platforms such as Facebook had many eulogies of the late such as one from Leonard Koloko who said, “Sad. Somewhat he was my anticipated author of that unwritten book on Zambian boxing. What a loss.”
Angel Phiri also intoned: “Go well Mr Simon Mwale. May your soul rest in peace. When I was doing cartoons for the Post Newspaper, he used to do a popular column called AGONY IS…”
Late Mr mwale’s nephew Sizwa Mwale, said his uncle never took things personal but seriously and that is why the family loved him so much.
In a post on the late’s Facebook page, Mwale said: “He was shocked and gutted at the death of his uncle. Uncle Simon Mwale was one of those kind of guys who always loved sport and fun to hang around.”
Cynthia Michelo Phiri and Mercy Banda Ngoma, two journalists the late trained, said they were sad to lose their lecturer.
This also bears testimony to the fact that the late Mr Mwale also spent time to train students.
Simon Mwale will be dearly missed by many.