Mwamba Kalenga

Tribute to MK(Mwamba Kalenga)

By Dickson Jere

After failing to secure an appointment with the President, he went and camped at my parents house. His act off-course drew my attention. Even though I was not in charge of making presidential appointments, I managed to squeeze him in. Apparently, he had no agenda for the meeting but merely to remind the President that he had predicted his presidency way back in 1980s. At that time President Rupiah Banda was Vice President of the Football Association of Zambia. At the meeting he wore his trademark attire – the custom tailored suit of Zambia national colours – like a crown!

By the way, he also came to State House with another of his trademark- the left hand antique BMW car – he had plenty of such. “Mwaice wandi nothing beats a Germany car,” he used to boast even though his looked like it was assembled at his backyard Chunga house.

In Matero, he was a household name. Proprietor of “Club MK”. He built a boxing ring inside the club where we did our sparring those days under his stables “MK Boxing Promotion”. This led to him being elected President of the Zambia Amateur Boxing Federation and later government appointed him Chairperson of the National Sports Council of Zambia.

Club MK was also known for betting “Pick-A-Lot” and most of us grew up thinking he was the owner of State Lotteries Board as he was the sole agent in the area. He was also a sole distributor of milk in Matero- a scarce commodity those days. Us who were under his stables were assured of free pint everyday. “Drink lots of milk..not beer,” he always advised. To him, I was his boy. His boxer!

The legendary Mwamba Kalenga, 71, who collapsed and died this week, was put to rest at his farm today. He leaves an indelible legacy. At his farm along Great North Road, he mounted a huge statute of footballer – a sign that he was an ardent sportsman. He was sports administrator par excellence! Go well mbuya!

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