Guwende, Namoni Banikosi

Church of Central Africa Presbyterian

Namoni Banikosi Guwende was a renowned evangelist in the Nkhoma Synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP), known for his zeal in planting churches and particularly for his role as the driving force behind the establishment of Thupa congregation in the remote north of Kasungu District. He was born on May 3, 1934 in Chikuza village, Traditional Authority Khombedza, Salima District, the second born of the six children of Banikosi Guwende and Feresia Nabanda. [1] As a child he left Salima for Lilongwe to live with his uncle at Chizeze village in Traditional Authority Kalumbu, in the south-west of Lilongwe district. [2] While at Kalumbu he attended Sunday school at Nyanja CCAP. He began his education at Kalumbu Primary School in 1938 and proceeded to a Nkhoma Synod Primary School in 1948. He dropped out of school due to lack of school fees and stayed at home for two years, before going to South Africa looking for work. After working there for two years he returned home when he heard that his father had died. This was when he sensed a calling to serve the Lord as an evangelist at Nyanja CCAP, in Kalumbu area. He was selected for training by Nkhoma Synod and appointed as an evangelist. In 1961, he married Elinati Ngondo, daughter of Bikiel Ngondo and Beatrice Chisale. The couple were blessed with five sons and five daughters: Andisen, Stoneham, Ariel, Ellen, Likisina, Losenti, Rodrick, Naomi, Ester and Stephanie.

The Synod posted Guwende to serve as an evangelist in the Thupa area where flue cured tobacco was grown by the Mpasadzi Tobacco scheme. This area was largely dominated by Livingstonia Synod, but it could not meet the demand for evangelism. Nkhoma Synod sought to meet the shortfall and sent its evangelist there. He left Lilongwe with his wife and eight children and made the journey to Thupa. On arrival they found that there was no house provided for them so their first night was spent under the shelter of a big tree. The next day a house was allocated to them from the Tobacco scheme. [3] Through Guwende’s evangelism initiatives many people came to Christ. Several praying points were established including Thupa which became a full congregation of Nkhoma Synod in 1982. Guwende was appointed as the first church clerk and also taught Sunday School and catechumen/hearer classes. Other full congregations which came from Thupa as their mother congregation include Mzuzu CCAP, Mzimba CCAP, Jenda CCAP, Nkhamenya CCAP and Chizungu CCAP. Before Thupa was planted as a praying point the church members were affiliated to Dwangwa CCAP as the mother congregation. All the offerings collected at Thupa were sent to Dwangwa CCAP where the minister resided. Guwende as the evangelist at Thupa was responsible for taking the collections on the 45km journey to Dwangwa station every month.

He was a man of integrity, prayer and faith, wholly committed to serving the Lord justly. This was evident, when one day his family had nothing to eat because there was no food in the house. The only money they had in the house was the church offerings supposed to be taken to Dwangwa station. Guwende refused to take even a single coin to buy food for his family. Instead he took all the money to Dwangwa station. On the way something unusual happened. At a certain point, he found a bag full of corn, abandoned at the side of the road. At a distance a man was weeding his crops but when Guwende asked him about the bag, he said he knew nothing about it and had not even seen it. Then Guwende assigned him to look after the bag, until the owner came to ask for it. The man looked after the bag till nightfall but no one came to look for it. When Guwende returned from Dwangwa he found that the man was still waiting for him. So he shared the corn equally with the unknown man. [4]

Early in 2018 Guwende developed breathing problems which were later diagnosed as heart failure which quickly led to his death on December 19. People in Thupa remember Namoni Banikosi Guwende as a praying giant, a man of faith and a powerful preacher. Many people were encouraged by his way of life and trust in God. His initiatives in evangelism brought many people to Christ and led to the establishment of Thupa congregation. He is also remembered as a man who loved nature especially trees since he planted a lot of trees around the church including fruit trees which are still there. [5] People around the church station come and enjoy the fruits. His third born son Ariel Guwende serves as a Nkhoma Synod minister and reminds people of his late father.

Kensley Bosco Katsala


  1. Derina Guwende, interview by author, June 30, 2022, Kasungu.
  2. Estery Guwende, interview by author, July 3, 2022, Kasungu.
  3. Likisina Guwende, interview by author, July 3, 2022, Kasungu.
  4. Losenti Guwende, interview by author, July 3, 2022, Kasungu.
  5. Sydney Msungama, interview by author, July 5, 2022, Thupa, Kasungu.


Guwende, Derina. Interview by author, June 30, 2022, Kasungu.

Guwende, Estery. Interview by author, July 3, 2022, Kasungu.

Guwende, Likisina. Interview by author, July 3, 2022, Kasungu.

Guwende, Losenti. Interview by author, July 3, 2022, Kasungu.

Msungama, Sydney. Interview by author, July 5, 2022, Thupa, Kasungu.

This article, submitted in November 2022, was researched and written by Kensley Bosco Katsala, minister of Thupa congregation in the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian Nkhoma Synod, under the supervision of Professor Kenneth R. Ross as one of the requirements of the Church History course on the MTh in Contextual Theology at Zomba Theological University.