We, Abiti Joyce Befu, popularly known as MG 66 and the Most Excellent Grand Achiever-MEGA 1; the Most Paramount Native Authority, His Eminence Mzee Mandela, also known in religious circles as the Tate; Nganga Maigwaigwa, PSC (RTD); Alhajj Mufti Jean-Philippe LePoisson, SC (RTD) and I, Malawi’s first and only Mohashoi, are reluctantly leaving Nkhota Kota at end of this month after successfully fulfilling our tour of duty.
Our next destination is Nkhata Bay. Until we are there next month, we will not tell you why it has become necessary to revisit that beautiful sister district to Nkhota Kota.
If it were left to us to choose, even at gunpoint, between Nkhota Kota and Nkhata Bay, we would choose not to choose. We would fail to choose because the two districts appear to us to be one. They share more culturally, linguistically, spiritually, religiously, customarily and ethnically than they are separated by politicians, cartographers, and fake demographers and historians.
The fake demographers and fake historians claim that the majority of the people of Nkhota Kota are Chewa. Well, the majority here may speak Chichewa but they may not belong to the Chewa ethnic grouping. Ask them. They have nothing to hide.
We thought the best way to say good bye to Nkhota Kota was to stop at Dwambazi to enjoy the rare nchila fish and cold drinks that are served by some of the most immaculate fish sellers and barmen we have seen in rural Malawi.
Dwambazi is an interesting place to visit because it is rarely in the news. Here crime is rare. Once upon a time the Malawi Young Pioneers (MYP) had a base here. It dominated the lives of Dwambazians. The peace they observe here may have its roots in the fear of the MYP.
From the shores of Lake Malawi at Dwambazi, you come to appreciate the real beauty of the majestic Kuwirwi mountains, the Makuzi and Ngala promontories, and the Likoma and Chizulu Isles some 40 to 50 kilometre away in Mozambican waters.
We had just sat down to a drink at one of the drinking joints at Dwambazi when I received a WhatsApp message announcing the death of a colleague and acquaintance. I stopped drinking and drowned my face in my cupped hands.
“What’s up on your WhatsApp?” Jean-Philippe inquired, adding naughtily as usual, “We are celebrating our triumphal tour of Nkhota Kota and we are about to cross the Dwambazi River to go to the promised land.”
“This is terrible,” I said.
“Speak like you are reporting a crime to a police officer or a journalist,” Nganga, a former police spokesperson, said, repeating the cardinal guidelines in news gathering and crime reporting, “be precise and informative: Who has died? When? Where? How? And why are you are so affected?”
“You know,” I said, “as you grow older, you tend to intimately know almost everybody within your age range, particularly when they happen to be one of you professionally.”
“Who has died?” Nganga asked, frustration registering on his face.
“You know Joy Media Group has lost a great, friendly and dedicated media manager in Lloyd Zawanda,” I said.
“Sad,” Nganga said, feeling downcast like I did, “I knew him very well. We interacted very well when I was speaking for the police mobile force.”
“It was not only at Joy Media Group that Llyod was active at,” I mourned. “In every media organisation, he was a trustworthy member with progressive and transformative ideas. When MISA Malawi wanted him, he was available; when the Journalists Union of Malawi (Juma) called on him to offer his service as trustee, he was ready; when the Malawi Editors Forum (Maef) asked for fresh ideas, he was not mean. Define a servant media leader and you described Llyod Zawanda.”
“Don’t we say in this group that when one of us is in mourning, all of us are mourning, when one member is sad, the entire expedition is sad? As we share happiness, we also share sadness. May Lloyd Zawanda’s spirit rest in peace,” his Eminence, the Tate and Most Paramount Native Authority Mandela concluded. n