Susan Namangale: A Unique Leader!

I met Susan at the Batumi Chess Olympiad in 2018. She had just been elected as president of the Malawi Chess Association, CHESSAM. She had grit and said her mind, without fear of what others might feel about her position, as long as she believed it was the right position.

Ogunsiku Babatunde and Namangale Susan | Image Credit: Mario Kpan

We spoke for some time during the Olympiad, being our first time at the amazing event. We spoke about Africa, and our individual countries. We spoke about how Africa needed to harness its own resources in order to stake a major claim in the global chess industry.

We spoke about the resources embedded in the African continent and how the right leaders should harness these resources in the continent. You may want to go through our interview with the amazing lady once again.

Namangale Susan

Leading Malawi was no easy feat, seeing the big shoes left by the departing president, Mr. Msukwa Kezzie, who became the secretary general of the Africa Chess Confederation (ACC).

Msukwa Kezzie and Namangale Susan at the Batumi Chess Olympiad|Image Credit: Jacinta Odongo

However, three (3) years down the road and it is obvious that Malawi got a brilliant leader to show them (and indeed, Africa) how a leader should lead.

Susan has been a servant leader, who places others above herself and treats leadership as a chess game, where she sacrifices for the greater good of the federation.

Namangale Susan witnessing the Olympiad|Image Credit: Jacinta Odongo

Furtherance to this year being an election year for CHESSAM, she has decided not to contest for a second term as the head of the association, but instead help build others that can take over from her.

Although she may consider the leadership role sometime in the future, she has decided to step down after her single term in office.

Namangale Susan is the 2019 Malawi Chess Champion (Female Section)|Image Credit: CHESSAM

Susan has informed CHESSAM executives that she will be available to provide support for Chess activities, which includes development, as well as arbitration. She will be available to serve at continental  and World level.

As part of her transition plan, she will put together a leadership session, aimed at preparing aspirants for various roles in the association.

Most people take up leadership roles for personal interest and not to serve. However, when the personal interests do not materialise, they get frustrated and try to frustrate everyone else.

– Namangale Susan

Below are some of the achievements of her administration, thus far:

  1. Establishing an office and employed an administrative officer to operate the secretariat of the Malawi Chess Association.
  2. Purchase of laptops, desktop and printer, along with internet facility for the office. Also provided phones for some key officers for communication.
  3. Ensured players (mainly the youth) participated at almost all major international events, where they won medals.
  4. Increment of active female chess players from less than ten (10) to over thirty (30) at present.
  5. Embarked on a robust chess in school development program, as well as reaching out to rural schools and setting up clubs in them.
  6. Hosted the Africa individual Championship for the first time, with seventeen (17) countries participating. Although there were COVID challenges and limited resources, we made the event a success.
  7. For the first time in Malawian history, they were awarded a wildcard by the Fide President, to send a player to the World Cup.
  8. Ensured transparent communication and gave access to all executive board members for all CHESSAM emails.
  9. Technical and liquidation reports were sent to the Malawi sports council after every event, throughout the period.
  10. Increased visibility of CHESSAM at both local and international level, which included logo rebranding, to improve visibility.
  11. Elevated the standards of the game, from having tournaments in classrooms or Kamuzu Institute, to reputable hotels.
  12. Demonstrated resilience during the COVID-19 outbreak and remained active through a number of activities, which includes online tournaments and events as well as training for grassroot development.

These are a few of the key milestones achieved under her leadership in the past three (3) years.

This year has a number of activities being planned, which is inclusive of the year of Women in Chess activities, National Championship, FIDE sponsored Malawi Open tournament, and participation in the 2022 Moscow olympiad.

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