Monthly Archives: July 2016

This is an odd column to write in 2016. It should be obvious, not so, that women and youth are a critical mass in developing nations? But here I am, making a case for the inclusion of women and youth in the development of Malawi and our attempt at consolidating democracy. Why?


A lady sells groundnuts as an entrepreneurial means to support her familly. Blantyre, May 2015. PHOTO CREDIT: THOKO CHIKONDI.

A lot of it has to do with a brutal system of patriarchy that is commonplace around the world. This system engenders the superiority of men more than it does women and other sexes. Here in Malawi, we still suffer the same complex and the results have meant women are continuously marginalised, routinely pushed aside and excluded from contributing in the development of this country. Read More


The entrance to the Kigali Genocide Memorial where 200,000 bodies were buried.

In 1994, when Malawi was ushering in the democratic dispensation, Rwanda was at war with itself. Where we inherited the remnants of a dictatorship, they inherited death in the form of bodies washing themselves ashore in rivers, trapped in forests and lying in the open. There was no country to speak of.

In 2016, when Malawi is contemplating feeding mice and grasshoppers to a starving population, Kigali – the capital of Rwanda – is one major construction site. The people have rolled up their sleeves, taken a decision to move forward are dreaming big.

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As a nation, we are screwed.

The boards we put at traffic intersections to commemorate the occasion of our 52nd 2016-07-11-PHOTO-00000501independence anniversary do justice to the state of our nation. Due credit must be given to all the brains that are behind these notice boards masquerading as billboards. Everyone who was involved in this project perfectly represents each and every single Malawian, at home and abroad.


In short, those notice boards capture the sum total of our imagination as a country. If, 52 years after independence, that is the kind of image you want the country to be associated with, then you should be patting yourself for a job well-executed. Surely, we have outdone other independence anniversary commemorations – and those were not our best times either. Let’s take a moment to reflect and imagine how we arrived at this most embarrassing point.

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With the late Raphael Tenthani, the Blantyre-Lilongwe road trip always had to be
punctuated with a stopover, somewhere around Ntcheu, for ngumbi or mbewa or both, depending on availability. It just had to happen. One evening, we ran out of luck. Or so I thought.

Driving to Blantyre, we left Lilongwe quite late and by the time we got to Ntcheu, the


The writer with Raphael Tenthani

young boys and girls who would normally wave their goods to passer-by traffic had retreated to their homes. But Raphael, like a stubborn little child, wanted his fix and we had to look for it. So, in the thick of the night, we parked our car on the main road and started the search for ngumbi or mbewa or whichever was available.

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