Remembering Blandina Khondowe
Former Miss Malawi Blandina Khondowe unfortunately lost her battle with cancer and passed away on Saturday the 21st of November 2020. She is being remembered by Malawians for her trailblazing activism for justice and better treatment as well as care for cancer patients, she was also described as a people person and her death has been felt by many. Among the mourners were President Lazarus Chakwera and vice-president Saulos Chilima who paid tribute to the former Miss Malawi in Lilongwe. Chilima expressed that he was devastated at the loss of Blandina Khondwe and described her as a consummate patriot, a fearless and courageous fighter.
She was invited to a reception event in September of 2019 for the Duke of Sussex at the residence of the British high commissioner and she described it as a once in a lifetime moment for her to discuss the issues affecting the youth and women of the reproductive age in Malawi. Blandina also contributed to publications such as “Breast Cancer Screening in Low-and MIddle-Income Countries: A Perspective from Malawi” and “Think Pink Malawi: Mobilising Communities and Stakeholders for Breast Cancer in Sub-Saharan Africa”. She was also awarded the Barbara Brenner Breast Cancer Activist Scholarship in 2019 to attend the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) in Texas.
As a two time survivor of breast cancer herself, Blandina created the Think Pink-Malawi campaign with Magdelena Zgamvo for early detection of breast cancer awareness as well as the founder of the Hope for Cancer Founation whose goal was to promote preventative approaches to cancer care. She was a strong advocate for breast cancer awareness and continuously spoke about the lack of facilities for cancer patients and equitable management. She partnered with local NGOs and companies to create local awareness for breast cancer in the country. She also simultaneously worked as a civil servant for Malawi’s Ministry of Tourism. Blandina was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 and she later overcame it after chemotherapy and other treatments only to later be diagnosed with it again in 2017.
Her activism and beautiful character will not be forgotten, her contributions to society and the way she wanted better for everyone is not lost on us. May her soul rest in eternal peace.