As promised a fortnight ago, we, Abiti Joyce Befu, MG 66, Amai (RTD), Sheikh Jean-Philippe LePoisson, SC (RTD), Mzee Native Authority Mandela and I, the Mohashoi, spent the last two weeks in Balaka hunting for Alinafe Paulo, the man who was charged, convicted and harshly sentenced to pay K3 000 or $5 or in default spend three months in jail like a mini-Cashgate criminal for unknowingly insulting the head of this estate.
We found and talked to him. We congratulated him and expressed our solidarity with him. We advised him though that henceforth he should live exuberantly like we do but refrain from insulting anyone, not even himself, publicly or privately because the systems in this estate are in high gear, again.
We immediately drove to Mulanje in the Republic of Lomweland for one purpose: to celebrate Unima, our university, which is this year celebrating its 50th anniversary. Believe it or not, we will be camped here until the 10th October 2015 when President Arthur Peter Mutharika, in his capacity as chancellor of Unima, presides over the main celebrations in the Kamuzu Stadium, in Blantyre City.
Here in Mulunje, Republic of Lomweland, we have many accommodation choices and entertainment places. We will get up to Kara O’Mula Country Lodge, the home and pioneers of roasted zinziri, to enjoy fresh forest air, eat genuine Mulanje dishes and taste Mulanje rock shandy. We will get down to Hapuwani, which we, the genuine Lhomwe, know means come ye all and have some enjoyable rest, when we want cool-to-hot tea-estate air. Down at Hapuwani we will dine, wine, and conquer those hard haram drinks. If you want amalaula, Hapuwani has it. If you desire Chivas Mikhito, ask Hapuwani. Fantakoko? Get to Hapuwani. Even the most recent dance tune, Dorika, is available at Hapuwani.
You know by now that we are a very weak tribe. Just give us enough entertainment, food, drink, expansive space to prance about, amble, cavort and laze about, then you have tamed the best tourists in Malawi. Mulanje has tamed us, the best. Here in Mulanje, particularly at Muloza, we will camp because, here, athiyana noophiya!
We spent a substantial part of last night in a Chisitu nightclub dancing, carousing and discussing, nay celebrating, the performance and contributions of the University of Malawi, our university. Someone, an overly tall and muscular man with a large bald head and deep voice, called Bro Joe, challenged us to mention concrete examples of what our so-called mother university of the federal republic of Malawi has achieved in its 50 years of existence.
“Look, Chancellor College of the University of Malawi, in Zomba, has trained almost all the lawyers that practice in Malawi today. That is worth celebrating. The College of Medicine of the University of Malawi, in Blantyre, has done great research whose findings have influenced international health policy. Today chances are that there is a Unima graduate doctor in every standard hospital you visit in Malawi. That is what we are celebrating. Today, we have qualified nurses, products of Unima, in all hospitals. That is why we are here and drinking. The Malawi Polytechnic has produced some of the best and outstanding architects, surveyors, civil, electrical, mechanical engineers and journalists. That calls for a fantakoko. Chancellor College has produced award winning poets, such as Jack Mapanje and Steve Chimombo, fiction writers such as Paul Tiyambe, Moya Ken (Senior) Lipenga and us and dramatists like Chris Kamlongera and James Ng’ombe, economists, managers, chemists, biologists, geologists, gerontologists, statisticians, politicians, and of course, a lot of hardcore tribalists, processed fools and raw idiots,” I challenged Bro Joe.
“So why are we poor? Why is Malawi poor?” Bro Joe queried, pointing his right fist at me.
“Poverty is a figment of the imagination,” Sheikh Jean-Philippe jumped in, adding, “Last time we went as far as Masanje. All along, we saw a lot of livestock: goats, sheep and cattle; but when we asked the owners of those goats and cattle, we were told that they were poor. We urged them to sell the cattle, goats and sheep and have money to buy clothes and build more decent houses! Malawi’s poverty is a result of its people’s refusal to convert natural resources into modern marketable goods.”
“Where is Masanje?” Bro Joe queried, belched like a pregnant elephant before sipping on his glass of Chivas Mikhito on the rocks.
“He means Nsanje!” Abiti said, sending Bro Joe into laughter.
“Did you say the Unima has also produced tribalists and fools?” Mzee Native Authority Mandela asked, seeking clarification.
“Well, every process of producing good things produces dangerous by-products. Burning oil produces carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide or smoke; eating good food results in the filling up of toilets; mining results in environmental pollution. So, in producing great minds, universities will produce utter idiots,” Sheikh Jean-Philippe explained.
“Why has the University of Malawi not produced a president in 50 years?” Bro Joe mocked.
“The current Vice-President is a Unima product! The President of FAM is a product of Unima,” I challenged.
“Is that enough? How about your broken sewers, chairs, floors?” Bro Joe asked.
“Ask us in 2065 when we celebrate the Unima centenary. For now, leave us to celebrate Unima at 50!” I said and joined the many celebrants and Chisituans who had surrendered themselves all to the slow-motion and scintillating rhythms of Dorika, mwamene abvinila…