Malawi’s minerals sector mourns Wona
By Marcel Chimwala
Mineral sector captains have expressed sorrow over the death of Former Acting Director for the Department of Mines in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Atileni Ackim Wona, who passed away last month.
Chief Mining Engineer for the Department, Burnett Msika, says he is saddened by the loss of Wona as the Department will miss both his technical ability and leadership skills.
I am buffeted by authentic bouts of sorrow and disbelief following the unexpected loss of a humble, hard-working and highly disciplined mining engineering guru and peace-maker, Mr. Wona.
He was neither jealousy-ridden with the success of others, nor double-faced in handling the affairs of people, nor was he a man who would publicly blast you on top of his voice in order to humiliate you when you crossed his path.
He always handled office issues with gentlemanly calmness, focus and wisdom. I will always miss him! Department of Mines has lost a giant who will always be remembered for his virtuous golden patience, discipline and love for work. May his soul rest in eternal peace.
Veteran geologist John Nkhoma, who runs a private firm called Chiwandama GeoConsultants, says in Wona, the nation has lost a hard working individual who dedicated his life towards the development of the country’s minerals sector.
I have known Mr. Wona since 1990 when he was studying for BSC (Hons) degree in mining engineering at the University of Zimbabwe.
When he joined the Department of Mines in Malawi, he was assigned to man the Mines office at Mzimba as the first Regional Mining Engineer in the country and I was the Regional Geologist for the northern region based in Mzuzu. We, therefore, coordinated in many mining activities mainly related to small scale gemstone mining in wonderful joint efforts.
He worked very hard promoting the small scale gemstone miners by, among other things, training new comers in the industry.
We have also worked together when I was Deputy Commissioner for Mines when we coordinated a lot of activities; the notable ones being the formulation of a draft Mining policy and revision of the Mines and Minerals Act.
Till his death he has been both my professional and social friend. I will greatly miss him. May his soul rest in eternal peace.
Seasoned geologist and former Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Mining, Leonard Kalindekafe, says in Wona, the country has lost a highly trained person who was humble and jovial.
This piece was initially published in Malawi’s Mining & Trade Review Issue Number 66 (October 2018).