Deficiency has always been a state of mind, a misguided belief that one is lacking of means, ways, capabilities and opportunities.
Deficiency, from a psych viewpoint, emanates from a broad spectrum of causalities, including upbringing, physicality, perceived harshness of the environment and many such factors. Whatever the source of the deficiency narrative that one prescribes for themselves or not, it has telling consequences.
The “perception” business of being short of means, ways and opportunities creates the dividing line between those that consign themselves to the misery of resigning to their fate and those that rise above the obstacles of their circumstances and create a viable state of affairs, the daunting stumbling blocks of their perceived deficiencies notwithstanding.
The world has borne witness aplenty of characters, actors, personalities and social luminaries; even nations and States that have risen above the seemingly insurmountable barriers of deprivation of all types: physical, financial, opportunities, class, birth, resource endowment and even size to become the greats of all times.
Examples abound in personalities and nations alike of how this phenomenon of achieving greatness against the prescription of conventional wisdom: President Roosevelt, the microstate of Singapore, the disabled olympics athletes, musicians: Allan Namoko and the Lucky Stars duo here in Malawi and Ray Charles, Steve Wonder et al elsewhere come to mind.
This forgoing conversation has been cited to debunk the misguided, false and unwarranted myth that has for a long time been firmly embedded in the national psych of Malawi that as a nation it was dealt a short hand by nature; hence, its ranking among the top dogs in the poverty parade of the world.
This belief has been a result of the conventional wisdom that says because Malawi is tiny in size, landlocked and hitherto has had no mineral wealth of any significance it must be conceded that as a nation Malawi is deficient. That it cannot achieve greatness of stature and means.
Such has been the sad narrative that has been anchored in our psych for a long time. Now if the argument that deficiency is a state of mind, something akin to an attitude holds, then one can say that Malawi is a poor nation not because of any deficiency of means, ways and opportunities. Rather that it is thus because of its attitude. Attitude is not an inanimate proposition. It is a living phenomenon that has to have a living host and that host is human beings. Therefore, one can conclude this postulation by borrowing from our late President Professor Bingu wa Mutharika who said and I beg to loosely quote that “Malawi is not poor but its people are the ones who are poor.” C’est déjà vu, as the French say. We already know this fact.
Now that we know that the challenge is our mentality of deficiency, the question is where do we go from here?
Mindset change and a new thinking inspired by a belief that we are Malawians, we are a nation of great, special and unique people.
The starting point is abundantly simple and everywhere around us. The peace-loving nature. That is the essence of Malawians. We are distinctly endowed with a generous inclination towards tranquility, peace and calm. No one else on this planet shares this gift. It seems to emanate from the convergence of the calming breezes that come from Lake Malawi to the East, Mount Mulanje, Zomba and Michiru to the South, the Kirk range, Dzalanyama range, Mount Nkhoma and Dowa hills in the Centre, the Majestic Chikangawa Forest, Vipya and the breath snatching Nyika Plateau in the North.
On May 29 2014, Wilhelm, my great friend from Cape Town landed at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) with his wife for a 12-day holiday that took them to Mumbo Islands off the shores of Cape Maclear, Pumulani and Nkhudzi Bay, all in the Nankumba Peninsular before they proceeded to the top of Zomba mountain then the tea plantations in Thyolo up to the picturesque view at mount Thyolo within Satemwa Tea Estates then to Ryalls Hotel for a final night before taking a flight back home.
They were spellbound by the amazing beauty of everywhere my wife, three adorable daughters and I took them. They were always out of breath with not only the amazing beauty of Malawi, but its charming people as well, even at that peak of the election contest fever and its aftermath. Then the peaceful coexistence thereafter.
They left planning to be back at Nkopola for Lake of Stars this coming summer. See how rich we are, Malawi.