On Malawi Independence Day, we honour our Malawian Patron, Vera Chirwa. She was born in Malawi (then Nyasaland) in 1932, the decade after Mamie and Jack’s time. Vera was the only girl at her primary and secondary school and went on to train as a teacher and lawyer. She was the first Malawian woman to qualify as a lawyer. Throughout her life she campaigned and worked for human rights. When we campaign today for the education of girls, we talk and write freely and seldom face personal danger as a result. Vera and Orton Chirwa, her husband, campaigned for Malawian independence in the 1950s, eventually facing a death sentence and years of exile and imprisonment. Vera was later released but Orton died in prison.
Vera’s autobiography Fearless Fighter tells her story and the story of Malawian independence. It’s a great book. Let’s remember that at the beginning of her great achievements and adventures, there was a grandmother who insisted that Vera was a girl who should go to school. In the Mamie Martin Fund, we are committed to helping girls in Malawi go to school, so that they can play their part in the development of their communities and their country.
Photo: Vera on her 90th birthday