New door for at-risk men

A man hurried across a street in rush-hour traffic, pacing into a fenced office block in Nyambadwe low density residential area in Blantyre. The front doors of the building were open throughout the lunch break. Men, both young and old, kept dropping in to play pool, throw darts, lift weights and watch televised soccer matches as…

Kumchedwa wins Tusk Award

Director of National Parks and Wildlife Brighton Kumchedwa won the K19.5 million Tusk Award for Conservation in Africa on Wednesday. Kumchedwa shone the brightest in the £20 000 race against Nigerian Nachamada Geoffrey who leads anti-poaching raids in Yankari Game Reserve and Kenyan Serah Munguti who campaigns against land-grabs by agricultural tycoons in the biologically-rich Tana…

Being a lesbian’s mother

Three years ago, she was jovial, calm and eager to assist. But the secretary has been edgy and introverted lately. During a recent visit to her workplace in the Northern Region, she left her leather armchair, paced across her executive office and stopped by a louvred window. Gazing through slit curtains at pine forests that…

Joys of family planning

Miriam Adam was 16 when she had her firstborn in 2001. “I was angry with myself,” the mother-of-two recalls. “It was not easy to carry an unintended pregnancy at a tender age.  I was safer in school. After giving birth, I started taking contraceptive pills. I didn’t want to have another baby.” Now 32, Adam…

Good people, former Norwergian  Ambassador Asborn Eidhammer’s book must convict Malawian scribes previledged with skills and abundant insights into our country. As Malawian journalists, creative writers and politicians were  snoring on their laurels or pretending to be too busy to write books, the envoy from Norway came, spent eight years and penned Malawi: A Place…

It’s Safe Abortion Day, but…

  Sluggish law review makes the International Safe Abortion Day a remembrance of preventable pain and deaths of women, our Features Editor JAMES CHAVULA writes.   What is sticky about unsafe abortions among health workers in rural areas where many Malawians live? “Nothing is more painful than seeing a patient weeping in agony when you…

Rewriting teen mothers’ tales

  At 18, Zione Josophat has a four-year-old baby. The teenager, who quit school in Standard Five at Chisombe in Salima, personifies the plight of half of the girls’ population nationwide. “I wanted to be a nurse, but my dream collapsed. I dropped out too early. I cannot read or write. All I have is…

Kutumbiza marked my turnaround

  At 20, Tabia Saidi has two children. It is not uncommon for girls in Mangochi, a tourism hotspot along Lake Malawi shores, to become mothers by their 13th birthday. The main cultural shock in her rural setting is that she gave birth in quick succession—with her firstborn aged seven and the second six. “I…

Once bitten, no contraception

  Men bite! This is a familiar soundbyte to warn girls against premarital sex. But it turns out that some women in wedlock are literally living with scars of their husbands’ bites. Some men in the country are taking their resistance to family planning to bizarre levels by chewing off their wives’ muscles to get…

Good people, it was amazing Jacaranda Cultural Centre honoured veteran author and columnist Desmond Dudwa Phiri, widely known as DD Phiri, by mounting an exhibition of his journey to the top. Like credible awards, exhibitions and talks confer status on deserving achievers. DD Phiri is doing wonderful work towards constructing an informed nation. To avid…

It wasn’t easy

It’s done deal, but Sipho gave Great Angels some conditions   The Great Angels Choir have revealed it was not easy to catch Big Fish—Sipho Makhabane. The choir also spoke of massive corporate support for their September 29 concert featuring the South African gospel star in Lilongwe. This is the second time for Makhabane to…

Going solar to save lives

  Nearly 20 women wait to give birth at Mulanje Mission Hospital every day. Three years ago, giving birth at the 220-bed hospital, which handles 440 outpatients daily and 250 births a month, was a matter of life or death due to frequent power cuts. Health workers were literally groping in the dark to save…

Dying lights, sticks and syringes

A dimly illumined darkroom produces vivid pictures of cracks that need sealing to improve post-abortion care, JAMES CHAVULA writes. A sprawling corridor takes visitors to a busy maternity section of Salima District Hospital where women expect every pregnancy to bring them joy. But there is no light at the end of this tunnel, for pregnant…

Scramble for national identity

Grace Chirwa is still hard at work when we arrive at Mpitilira Primary School, an hour’s drive west of Mangochi Boma, on a scorching Friday around 7.30pm. With recent public sector reforms, the exhausted registration officer has the liberty to knock off at 4.30pm. But there is a good reason she is still on duty,…

Good people, a nation where public accountants draw allowances for 66 days a month has every reason to depress everyone. Such quirky anecdotes will numb anyone who cares about integrity, transparency and accountability just when thieves in power are wrongfully tolerated, admired and praised instead of being prosecuted. But all Malawians are rotten. Some young…

Girls die as old debate rages

Nearly 28 pregnant women at Salima District Hospital have died since last year and five of them succumbed to complications of abortions. Out of 168 post-abortion cases admitted to the female ward, four were below 15 years. Our Features Editor JAMES CHAVULA visited the hospital to find out the severity of the problem. A stretcher…

Good people, it seems the floodgates of fame have flapped open and many artists have been talking about rebranding lately. Rebranding is the world on the mouth of nearly every artist who can get a reporter to take down a few notes. Reporters are not known for invoking their right to silence, especially when it…

After Baby Grace’s burial

Baby Grace’s death will remain a shocking tragedy unless the country ends time-honoured public health gaps that compel women to carry unintended pregnancies, JAMES CHAVULA writes. The country was gripped with shock when the police announced last week Tuesday that children searching for wild fruits had found a newborn lying in the cold in a…

Baby Grace’s grave ransacked

Unknown people have tampered with the grave of Baby Grace, the newborn who was buried at the graveyard where she was dumped by her mother on Monday last week. Health workers at Ekwendeni Mission Hospital tried to save the baby, but she died after four days of fruitless attempts. In an interview yesterday, the hospital’s…

Good people, Lawi was dynamite—he ‘was’ before the newest track from his forthcoming album, Sunset in the Sky. The real sunset in the horizon could be the fading sparkle that made many believe everything the musician touches turns into gold Going is the excitement that welcomed his self-styled hit album, featuring Amaona Kuchedwa, four years…