Tobacco kills 5 700 in Malawi—global atlas

The American Cancer Society and Vital Strategies on Thursday released a public health atlas which ranks Malawi among low-income countries paying a huge cost for not replacing tobacco with smoke-free crops. The launch of the tobacco atlas by the US health think-tanks was one of the major highlights of the World Conference on Tobacco or Health Conference…

SA minister warns against tobacco billions

South African Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi has asked African governments to guard against the lure of tobacco money, saying the captains of industry are motivated to maximise profits at the expense of lives. The medical doctor said this on Wednesday when he opened the 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Cape Town, South Africa,…

Good people, Madonna said nothing astonishing when she named her adoptive son, David, as the next President of Malawi. This is how the pop star rates the boy she has lifted from the doldrums since she plucked him from an orphanage in Mchinji. Before the Material Girl flew in, David was an unknown child whose…

Death in Nobody’s Hotel

This is a story of torture tolerated, reforms postponed and human rights violations widely accepted, our Staff Writer JAMES CHAVULA writes.   Prisons are no hotels, are they? This question echoes 25 years after Malawi switched to democracy in June 1993. Malawians mostly evoke the carryover from founding President Hastings Kamuzu Banda’s 31-year reign of…

Starved to maddening death

  The slow death of Prisoner 1507/3231 exposes how prisons are starving inmates, JAMES CHAVULA writes.   On April 15 2015, Abyuti Phiri, 25, was locked up in the congested confinements of Maula Prison in Lilongwe to await trial for housebreaking and theft. Then, there was no doubt about the fitness of the newcomer Mchinji…

Usisya gem in Black Panther

What good can come from Usisya, a far-flung spot on sandy and rocky shores of Lake Malawi eclipsed by a bumpy, hilly road that has left prices of basic goods doubling much to the hardship of poor fishers who call it home? Not just fish, obviously. Maybe nationalist Murray William Kanyama Chiume, a former minister…

Good people, there is something about politics that leaves me jittery when a learned politician grabs a mic. Not their degrees, but an inner fear that they may say something ridiculous and numb someone to think higher learning makes one dumb. Professor Thandeka Mkandawire said it succinctly: “There is something about politics, I have known…

Cholera on postcard isles

You have heard no person is an island, but Chief Mkumpha of Likoma District wants policymakers to know “no island is an island”. The traditional ruler of Likoma and Chizumulu islands in Lake Malawi is convinced the islanders are not immune from disease outbreaks raging on the mainland. “We may be cut off, but the…

Make community colleges musical—Kumpalume

  Former minister of Health Peter Kumpalume has added a voice to muted calls for government to make technical and vocational training somewhat musical. The medical doctor is the Member of Parliament for Blantyre West, the cradle of legendary musicians in the ilk of Daniel and Donald Kachamba, Robert Fumulani and Likhubula Band, Fumbi Jazz…

Kambalu lines up two movies

  Five years ago, visual artist Elson Kambalu decided to venture into film-making. The youthful painter embraced the motion picture as a way of putting his versatility and passion for storytelling to optimal use. After releasing Mlandu wa Njinga last year, he seems determined to release two more movies. Kambalu has announced three productions—Fisi/Hyena, Laura’s…

Court convicts rapper

  Blantyre Chief Resident Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday convicted rapper Born Chriss for insulting the modesty of songbird Kwin B. Chief resident magistrate Simeon Mbeza sentenced the singer to 12 months imprisonment, but suspended the sentence because he pleaded guilty. The artist, aged 26, appeared in court to answer charges of insulting the modesty of…

Good people, learning a second language is totally worth the effort. Knowing two or more languages expands your knowledge and opportunities in life, keeps your brain fit and broadens your perspectives. It gives you the ease to knock on more doors and articulate your needs. But ignorance of your mother tongue makes you a weaverbird…

Learning by doing saves children

New evidence shows training in diet diversity helps mothers tackle under-nutrition in Malawi, showing significant improvements in just three  weeks, JAMES CHAVULA writes. Every baby is a blessing, a cause for joy. However, Mary Banda, who lives in Kapokonyoka Village in Mzimba North West Constituency, was depressed the day she discovered that her twins were…

Since its genesis in 1987, Banja La Mtsogolo (BLM), the local arm of Marie Stoppes International, has opened 29 clinics to ensure every child is born by choice and not by chance. In this interview, our Features Editor JAMES CHAVULA catches up with BLM country director Maarten Van de Reep to discuss the country’s push…

Muluzi backs youth access to contraceptive

  Minister of Health Atupele Muluzi has amplified calls for expanded access to contraceptives to safeguard the youth from sexual and reproductive health (SRH) challenges, including teen pregnancies and unsafe abortion. The minister was speaking when he officially opened a Banja La Mtsogolo (BLM) clinic at Sunnyside in Blantyre on Tuesday. Muluzi  said it is…

‘Families requested  elevation of Yao chiefs’

Chief’s involvement in politics and the elevation of two Lhomwe group village heads in the Yao-dominated have ignited questions over the traditional leaders’ role in democracy. Our Features Editor JAMES CHAVULA caught up with Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nakhumwa. There is a heated debate about chiefs involvement in partisan politics, especially…

Good people, blaming new technologies for widespread piracy is a trite excuse. In this country, we once blamed a computer programme for Cashgate when the devil actually lied in the long fingers, bottomless potbellies, ill intentions and highly remunerated inaction of fat cats paid to prevent the looting of public resources. Silence outside the court.…

Let beads scatter

It gets far more replays than many will acknowledge publicly. Its story is as laughable as it gets—a tale of hidden talent born in March 1994. Kuseka kuti heheee mikanda kuti lakata! From the fervent singing of children in many locations, Nyanes’ song, Mikanda, has passed the major test any song has to before it…