When missionaries first arrived in Malawi they were deeply impressed by the mountainous topography. As they struggled with ill-health in low-lying and marshy areas, they were drawn to the higher altitude of the mountainous areas. As the Dutch Reformed Church Mission established itself at the turn of the 20th century, it identified a spot beneath Nkhoma Mountain that was eventually chosen to be its headquarters.
For many years it was a flourishing centre but when nearby Lilongwe became the national capital in 1975, Nkhoma increasingly came to look like a backwater. The quality of its hospital, renowned especially for its Eye Department, was the main reason it remained a significant centre in the national life. Today, however, it is reinventing itself as a campus of the University of Nkhoma.
“Nkhuni,” as it is known for short, is one of the new breed of Church Universities that are transforming the Higher Education scene in Malawi. With Faculties of Theology, Education and Health Sciences at Nkhoma and a Faculty of Commerce in the urban setting of Lilongwe, it is gradually building up its staff, students and infrastructure.
It is a privilege for me to have the opportunity to be a Visiting Professor, with a particular focus on the development of a Master of Arts course in Christian Leadership and Theological Studies. This is a first step into postgraduate studies and an important one for the aspiration of the young University. It is exciting to play a small part in it.