As reported in the press, John Mwankatwe has died and today is to be given a State Funeral by the Zambian Government. He was a remarkable man, one of Zambia’s first graduates in law, he served as a Minister in the Government and amongst other distinguished posts, Chancellor of University of Zambia. He was a Zambian, a lawyer, author and intellectual.
His son Mupanga Mwanakatwe is married to Margaret, an executive with Barclays Bank, and elder sister to Towela, mother of two of my children, Michael and Alexandra. They knew late John as ‘grandpa’ and were very sad at news of his passing. John gave me very valuable advice in 1992 when I unexpectedly had to leave my post as General Manager of Ridgeway Hotel (now Southern Sun Ridgeway). Some of the advice I followed and some I didn’t – it was valuable!
Late John was often guest of honour at functions held at the Ridgeway. This was always a cause for concern. Why? Well, his speeches used to last so long it disturbed the food service! He was a lawyer after all! We always used to try and pursuade the organizers to let us serve the main course before the speeches. When they asked “why?” Our reply was “well, do you really want to eat your main course at midnight!” Consternation!
Late John always passed by Chanters Lodge when he visited Livingstone to see my progress and express his best wishes, and I highly valued these visits. He’ll be missed by family, friends and all who had the privilege to know him.