Victoria Rubadiri's Grandfather Who Rattled Presidents

  • Victoria Rubadiri.
    Victoria Rubadiri.
  • Award-winning Citizen TV news anchor Victoria Rubadiri's parents recently expressed pride that their daughter had won the 2020 BBC World News Komla Dumor Award, etching her spot on the family's heritage.

    A breakdown of Rubadiri's family tree shows that she came from the lineage of the late Prof David Rubadiri who was a renowned official of the Malawi government, poet, playwright and novelist.

    During a past interview with Jeff Koinange on Hot 96 FM, the Komla Dumor Award winner traced the family name to David's father who had converted to Islam on returning from Oman, where he had been taken as a slave.

    Prof David Rubadiri sitting in his house
    Prof David Rubadiri sitting in his house

    "He would pray five times a day and his fellow villagers wondered what he was saying because he was praying in Arabic.

    "He would say 'aaaaahrubadiri' repeatedly and the villagers would imitate him. So he liked it and noted that he would take up that name," she recounted.

    His first degree was acquired at Makerere University where he studied between 1952 and 1956 alongside former President Mwai Kibaki.

    At Malawi's independence in 1964, Rubadiri [Victoria's grandfather] was appointed the first ambassador to the United States and the United Nations.

    The democracy advocate left the Malawian government in 1965 after falling out with the then-President Hastings Banda and settled in Uganda. 

    After a stint at teaching at his Alma Mater, the professor was also exiled by dictatorial President Idi Amin Dada's regime and moved to Kenya. 

    He then taught at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, between 1976 and 1984 and was also briefly at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria, at the invitation of renowned poet Wole Soyinka. 

    Between 1975 and 1980 he was a member of the Executive Committee of the National Theater of Kenya.

    In 1997, after President Banda's death, he was reappointed Malawi's ambassador to the United Nations, and he was named vice-chancellor of the University of Malawi in 2000.

    He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Strathclyde (Scotland) in 2005.