Khwekhwerere’s good, bad and ugly


In the gutter, the last week of the month is a hard one — landlords expect financial civility from the tenant, and excuses are the least the later can make.

I was sweating it out on a trip to the beautiful Lake District of Mangochi from where I normally buy fish in bulk to resale in Lilongwe.

I had to complete at least one sales round as quickly as possible to make peace with my debtors.

From Lilongwe, the route was via Dedza, branching off to the left about 15 kilometres after Dedza Roadblock. From the turn-off, you run on an exploration of serious slopes on a stretch called Khwekhwerere.

On the stretch, most of the time I felt the tyres skate along the smooth tar underneath the lorry we were in.

No wonder, the name Khwekhwerere is literally arrived at bearing in mind the gliding you do.

Malawi’s beauty is largely spelt in the warmth of its people — so caring and so friendly. And such beauty is complemented by a sweet salad of natural resources whose careful and calculated use can be a source of pride and cash.

The sharp bends on the inclines of the stretch are dotted with an enterprising lifestyle. The people of the slopes utilise the small water sources available to grow crops which they take the roadside for a living.

Many others make use of the available timber to sculpt beautiful toys which they equally dangle by roadside curious shops for the travellers’ eye.

You get to feel the serious artistic flame burning in the sculptors, as shown by the exactness with which they bring to life from dead wood various imitations of cars, bicycles and earth moving machines.

The trade is growing and you now almost have a curios shop by every bend. It is beautiful art on display. Khwekhwerere is an art haven.

However, in an era mindful of conservation, one only prays the sculptors take it for a priority to replenish the forests that house water sources and wood from which they feed their families.

Otherwise, the magnificence of the sculptors and vegetable farmers could as well be a concealed time bomb. There should be coordinated efforts to balance the entrepreneurship and the conservation drive.

Then suddenly, upon negotiating one notorious bend, we see two men tussle like male elephants fighting for territory. From the little we could gather from a moving vehicle, the two had issues from unsettled debts.

They fought so hard. With every blow, each one of them threatened to flatten the other to pulp. They dug into each other like infuriated hippos, using whatever their hands could land from the roadside.

Blood flowed. Obscenities flew. Women yelled for help. It was all a negative occurrence to Khwekhwerere’s beauty. I am very sure that the fighters have ended up unattractive enough to book space in the Zimbabwe’s next year’s edition of Mr Ugly Contest! n


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