Educated locally and in South Africa, where he studied at evening classes after work.
On his return home in 1954 he set himself up in business as a tailor at Zomba. As a noted nationalist—district treasurer of the Nyasaland African Congress in 1956 and district secretary in 1958—he was rounded up during Operation Sunrise in March 1959 and kept in prison without trial as a political detainee until his release in April 1960.
In 1961 he was elected district chairrman of the Malawi Congress Party at Zomba. From 1961 to 1966 he was honorary secretary of the Muslim Association and from 1966 to 1971 chairman. In 1968 he became Zomba’s first African town clerk and in 1967 he was appointed chairman of the Zomba District Council.
His political career took him to the Nationaly Assembly with his victory at Zomba East in the elections of March 1969. He was re-elected in April 1971.