Hello people! Welcome to the first instalment of ‘Chitumbuka 101’. No matter if you are Tumbuka or not you may be interested in learning Chitumbuka but since there is no formal education in Chitumbuka available please be on the lookout every week for a blog post and you might just become a pro.
For this week let us deal with some basic phrases as a foundation for next week’s post, you will often hear these in a conversation so do practice saying them as much as possible:
Note: The prefix ‘m-’ is used for referring to more than one person or one respected person such as a parent or boss.
How are you?
Zina lane ni ____
My name is ______
Zina lako ni vichi?
What is your name?
Where are you from?
Kwithu niku ___
I am from ____
What do you do?
Nkhugwira ntchito ku____
I work at _______
(M)uku sambila nkhuni?
Where do you learn?
I learn at ______
(M)ukutemwa masebelo uli?
What kind of games/sports do you like?
Nkhutemwa masebelo ya ___
I like to play _____
Where do you live?
Nkhukhala ku _____
I stay at ______
Much more next week! See you.
Kwacha! That famous Kamuzu catch phrase. It has been over half a
century since the tambala crowed on Malawi’s dawn of freedom and
yet MCP’s metaphoric bloodline still rules Malawi today, don’t believe
me? Watch: Kamuzu Banda’s Malawi Congress Party lost power to a
former member, Bakili Muluzi and his offshoot party The United
Democratic Front, who then lost power to another offshoot party the
Democratic Progressive Party led by Bingu wa Mutharika of which’s
sudden death was replaced by estranged vice president Joyce Banda by
yet another offshoot the People’s Party. Crazy right? stick with me
because there is yet another offshoot party from the DPP wanting
Government this coming 21 May elections, we all know it, the United
Transformation Movement led by current vice president Saulos Chilima.
It seems Malawi’s tale is one of lust for power over and over again, like
if Judas not only betrayed Jesus but desired to become messiah himself.
In the end we have really just been voting the same kind of people into
Government, all decendants of MCP linked with a common thread of
corruption and selfish ambition.
That said It is reasonable to ask why we should trust Chilima when he
was in the very Party he now calls corrupt, a party he now tells us not
to vote for when he himself stood by president Peter Mutharika and his
DPP through all the corruption allegations. Chilima has often used a
biblical analogy for these coming elections to say that we could either
go back to Egypt (MCP) as slaves, stay in the wilderness (DPP) or
proceed with him into the promised land with UTM. Now it might be
true that DPP is a wilderness but Chilima and his comedian sidekick are
not our Moses and Joshua. What about MCP then, is it really our
version of Eguputo? Simply put the answer is no, the MCP Chilima
refers to is 1966 MCP.
1994, Kamuzu Banda and the Eguputo of MCP Chilima refers to was
defeated in the first democratic election by Bakili Muluzi, since then the life president died and 25 years have passed since the oppressive
regime. Practically all original members of MCP have been replaced and
the party is under new ownership. You can’t say that today’s MCP is the
same as the one that oppressed Malawi Under Kamuzu can you? It is
really just a brand, a dying ember that’s been kept alive, one that’s
been rejuvenated. Despite MCP’s current president having a curious
exotic accent I don’t see much wrong with him and his party. Hopefully
come 21 may we shall not stay in DPP’s wilderness especially since
there is no Eguputo to go back to but we shall pick a worthy promised
By Anthony Munthali
Walter Gondwe is generally not a house hold name but I suppose that is precisely the point, I mean there is no reason we should know a non-partisan leader in Malawi, right? Well I suppose that’s precisely the problem given that every traditional authority is in one politicians pocket or another. Scratch that, let’s get back to Walter Gondwe, who is he? Well he is better known as paramount chief Chikulamayembe or by his chiefly title ‘Themba la ma Themba’ (chief of chiefs) of the Tumbuka people of northern Malawi based in Rumphi district. So why is Themba worth an entire post? Well unfortunately our protagonist died last year on 30 November and I couldn’t help but feel like a rare breed of chief had become extinct.
Chikulamayembe is one of the most well-established rulers in the northern region with a dynasty that goes back two centuries with a small pause during the Ngoni invasions. The recently deceased Themba was hailed for his bravery, wisdom and honesty through which he influenced a lot of development throughout the North. Chikulamayembe was is no politicians pocket unlike most other chiefs, he called on traditional leaders to take a neutral position in politics and to allow their people to make free well-informed choices in elections. Chikulamayembe had a habit and a resulting reputation of never endorsing any political parties/candidates and never taking part in rallies, you can compare that with the chiefs who proudly walked up to receive a copy of the DPP manifesto. Due to his uncorruptible nature however, he made some strong adversaries in the government such that he was not promoted to paramount chief until after the death of Bingu Wa Mutharika during Joyce Banda’s reign.
To conclude, many people question the relevance of traditional authorities in today’s Malawi, well if you are under the same impression consider Chikulamayembe as role model for the non-political role chiefs could take in the advancement of Malawi. This system of government is a remnant of white rule anyway.
A few treasures and artefacts looted during the colonial period in Africa have been returned but I must admit I was kind of upset that the word ‘loot’ was used instead of ‘stolen’. Anyway, that’s just a ‘fun’ fact for todays topic on a possible transformation in our continent’s nations out of a Eurocentric thought system designed to benefit foreign powers without regard to indigenous people.
In brief, Eurocentrism is a world view built around and biased towards the western world. The term is relatively new but its definition through out history has led to racism in the forms of colonialism, slavery and apartheid. Dwelling on these too much is rather unhealthy, the simple truth is that the past cannot be returned to but probably the most important question is how to fix ourselves not in a way that pretends all of these never happened but in light of them.
First is Jesus. Yes, I believe in the son of God but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe the alternative white man religion exists, it does and that’s the religion and version of Jesus that was given to our pedigrees and passed down the generations; a mental image of an English-speaking Jesus with light skin as seen in the paintings and movies and samples of movies in our choir music videos. I have nothing wrong with a cultural interpretation of Jesus who was in reality a Jew with not as light a complexion as the movies but similar to the present day middle eastern Jews, it just would have been nice if the rest of the world’s people got to do the same for situational and cultural relevance. Today, to topple this aspect of Eurocentric thought is to contextualise for the typical Malawian/African.
Second is beauty. Know how in Government schools boys are to keep their hair short and girls not allowed to get creative. Or perhaps the prevalence of ‘weave’ masking God-given kinks we have convinced ourselves are ugly and then of course the bleaching of melanin away from this beautiful skin. These are mostly attacks on our selves out of a beauty standards set by Eurocentric thought.
We can only endorse and take part movements in favour of our African features to topple this negative Eurocentric aspect. Next up, the issue of a First language. Again, lets go to Malawian schools, private and public alike. It’s no secret that the vast majority of Malawians don’t speak English fluently which is viewed as the problem in our Eurocentrically biased minds when the actual problem is the insistence to raise and educate our children in a language that might not come naturally to them. The struggle might be hard to tell in the city but a language gap exists and is a big factor in grades, before you can solve a math problem you must understand the English around it for example. Ever been slapped (or worse) for speaking your own language in your own country at primary/secondary school? I have, more than once in fact. Consider how much self-hatred we have to be capable of to ban our own languages and treat them with second status not only in school but in official government documents too. Hope this aspect will reverse someday but until then ask yourself how you feel about French accents in comparison to Chichewa accents (keep the Dexter memes in mind).
Lastly, for the sake of this list not going on for eternity (because it can), creativity. Though we have made strides in giving a Malawian flavour to a lot things I feel like we are still convinced that all there is to invent has been done by the Europeans or will be eventually. We could go on and on about how expensive it would to come up with successful original ideas but that is also our own problem to solve and so we should push through these barriers.
To conclude, I just hope to see Malawi become a better nation in consideration of eurocentrism which is just once of the ropes tugging us backwards.
– Anthony Munthali
As Malawi approaches her 2019 tripartite elections in May, I felt the urgency to write a rather skeptical analysis on UTM, the latest party making waves which has been presenting itself as a new hope for change.
THE UTM MANIFESTO.
Creation of a million jobs.
The party leader Saulos Klaus Chilima also known as SKC has boldly said he will create one million jobs. Is it just me or this seems rather impossible. I do believe Malawi is highly capable of great change but great change always has to obey the laws of natural progress and opposition. Let’s do the Math.
* The average yearly pay of an employee in Malawi is MKW5,000,000(net) according to http://www.averagepay.com. Building on this, it will cost Malawi an extra five trillion kwacha for such a goal to be achieved. And on top of this it will cost a fortune just to purchase production equipment for the factories he says he will establish, which might double the five trillion. Considering Malawi’s annual budget(below three trillion Malawian Kwacha) the impracticality of this claim is worrying. We shall just have to wait and see if SKC’s claims hold any weight.
The party’s president has been recruiting and inviting DPP members to join his movement. Is it just me or this sounds a little off, considering that he calls the DPP members thieves. Why recruit people who you call thieves and still promise your followers a corrupt free movement. History has shown on countless occasions that corrupt members will produce a corrupt government.
Prolonged stay in the DPP
The party’s president SKC stayed in the DPP for over four years and a few months away from the tripartite elections he decided to start his own party and has labelled the members of the ruling party as thieves. Now one would ask what was he doing this whole time amongst people he calls thieves. Furthermore, why wasn’t he telling us that his fellow party members are thieves but he had to wait until he had the chance to create his own party and until the elections were nearing.
In the end we may choose to trust SKC and his party hoping they stay true to their promises but do keep account that not all is as clean as they make it out to be.
By Michael Mwaluka
Statistics show that 50.7% of Malawians live below the poverty line, while 25% live in extreme poverty. That is to say, out of 15.9 million Malawians, approximately 14.3 million people survive on At least $2 a day whereas, about 12 million out of the 14.3, live in abject poverty. Which leaves us with about 1.6 million wealthy Malawians. Shocking isn’t it?
The gap between the rich and the poor keeps getting wider and to be fair in judgment, we should appreciate that there’s only so much we can do in small landlocked country when trying to counter poverty. Agriculture and small scale businesses have been our fortless since the dawn of time, but despite the numerous resources and investment into such projects, they do not work for the majority. Eventually efforts are exhausted,especially when the investment and effort outweighs the profit, courtesy of our failing economy.
How to bridge this gap in a corruption infested society is another hurdle to consider. By large, morality and humanity is lost in the quest to acquire riches, In society today, most times the rich help the rich and they get richer. Education plays a major role in the reduction of poverty, but for the average Malawian graduate, finding a good job when they have no connections in the industry is an achievement on its own. More often than not, if you are a nobody you will remain a nobody and that is the sad reality.
I wish there was a straightforward solution to this problem but there’s none, we can only hope and push for Government policies that will work effectively in boosting the economy. Render a helping hand to the needy if you can, until then- keep pushing, support one another and may God bless the hardworking people of Malawi.
Reference: IMF Country Report No:17/184
-By Wasekera C Banda