Annie Chikhwaza is the Dutch missionary known as Mother of Malawi for her work with orphans in Africa through Kondanani Children’s Village which has been called “a five star orphanage” in a Channel 4 documentary.
Born Antje Saakje Terpstra in Friesland she trained as a psychiatric nurse in Holland before moving to England in 1965 and South Africa in 1966. Annie always had a heart to reach out to people in need and ministered for many years in the volatile Alexandra township during the apartheid era.
In 1993 she married the late Rev Lewis Chikhwaza, a Malawian pastor and moved to Bvumbwe near Blantyre where she continued to help the poor. In 1996 she was brutally attacked, but miraculously lived to tell a story that makes for riveting reading. It took her several months to recuperate but out of this desperate situation Annie was determined to rebuild her life and ministry. She started Kondanani as she held an HIV/AIDS baby in her arms and now has more than 200 children in her care.
Rev Chikhwaza sadly passed away in 2005 and is fondly remembered by the children of Kondanani Children’s village who called him “papa” – See Tribute to Lewis Chikhwaza. His lasting legacy remains, Kondanani Children’s Village including the Lewis Chikhwaza Christian Academy.
Annie has featured regularly on television in Malawi and internationally. The Dutch TV station, Evangelische Omroep (EO) produced a documentary on her life, Mem in Malawi (Mother of Malawi) from which the title of Annie’s biography is derived. This documentary was part of a series entitled The Helping Dutchman and Kondanani has been featured on other EO series including A New Beginning, focusing on adoption. GOD TV has aired several interviews with Annie and regularly updates its viewers on the ongoing progress of the Children’s Village.
When pop music celebrity, Madonna went to Malawi to adopt a baby in 2008, Kondanani became the target of global media attention. The Sunday Times visited the orphanage in 2011 and commended Annie for her work as an example of good aid to Africa.