Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
|scuba diving is available at Nkhatabay|
|beautiful unpoluted beaches at Chintheche and Chikale in Nkhatabay|
|graet time... come enjoy. picture taken at Club Mayoka(Nkhatabay)|
|happy people...captured at a soccer match|
|great culture and comradeship among the locals|
Saturday, November 27, 2010
ChiTumbuka is a language spoken in some parts of Northern Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania. I will not introduce you to the grammar of ChiTumbuka language but will go straight to sharing the few words and phrases a typical foreigner might need.
The ChiTumbuka alphabet:
A= [ah as in astound] e= [eh as in enter] I= [ee as in east] o= [oh as in open] u= [oo as in Utah with U sounding as in "woo"] = vowels (WHEREVER THESE VOWELS ARE SPOTTED THEY ARE TO SOUND AS DENOTED HERE)
Ba (as in bad) be- as in be, bi-as in bee, bo as in bold, bu- as in bully,
There is no independent "C" but always attached to "H" thus Cha che chi cho chu
Da- as in Dad
All "e" are pronounce as "eh" and does not stand alone
Fa as in Father
Gu- as in good
Hu-as in hooker
I is pronounced "eee" and doesn't stand alone
Jo- as in Job
Ko- as is cold
La le- as in left, li lo Lu (in classic ChiTumbuka "L" doesn't exist but the diluted form has incorporated it in words like "Chipatala" which are mostly borrowed and coined)
Mo- as in motto
Ni- as in Knee
"O" doesn't stand alone and is pronounced "oh"
Po-as in Pot
There is no "Q" in ChiTumbuka though the "Q" sound can be heard in words like "Kwiza" and "Kwacha"
Ri- as in Rinse (it's advisable to pronounce all "L" words in ChiTumbuka as "R" ones)
So- as in son
To-as in top
"U" doesn't stand alone but is pronounced as "oo" as in "ooze"
Vo -as in volume
Wa we wi (there is no word in the language that has "wu" or "wo" there are instead taken up by the use of "U" for "wu" and "o" for "Wo")
There is no "X" in the language
zu-as in zoo
Me= ine but note that the prefix N- and Nk- are also used to make a me meaning as in Nkhulya= am eating and as in n- + luta = naluta (am gone)
NB: you will notice that there is no ChiTumbuka word that ends without a vowel so its important to pronounce them as such.
Arrival: Kufika [coo-fee-ker]
Visitor: Mulendo [moo-leh-ndoh]
Going: Kuluta [koo-looter]
Coming: Kwiza [queezer]
Airport: Chibanja cha ndege [chee-wa-njer cher nde-ghe]
Money: Ndalama/ Makopara/ matambala [mah-koperer]
Man: Mwanalume [Mooneroomie]
Woman: Mwanakazi/ mwali/ msungwana/ swengha [moonerkerzie]
Car/ vehicle: Galimoto [ghalee-motor]
How are you/ hi/ hello: Monire [moo-woh-nilly]
Am fine and you: ndili makora kwalimwe
Come here: zakuno
Am going to: Nkhuluta ku-
Am coming from: Nafuma ku-
Am looking for: nkhupenja-
Me: ine, n-, nkh-
I need change: nisithaniko makopara
Where is Chenda motel: Motelo ya Kwa Chenda yili Nkhu?
I want a taxi: nkhupenja Taxi
How much: Zilinga
I got little: Zachepa
Beef: Nyama ya Ng'ombe
Irish Potatoes: Katofyeni
Sleep: gona (v)
To sleep: kugona
He/she is sleeping: wakugona
Sex (coition): kugundana (extremely taboo, better said in English)
I want sex with you: tiye tikagundane (extremely taboo, better said in English)
Penis: nkhule (extremely taboo, better said in English)
Vagina: Choli (extremely taboo, better said in English)
His mother: wamama wake
His father: wadada wake
Your mother: wanyoko
Your father: wawuso
Aunt: wa nkhazi
Uncle: wa Sibweni
Son/ daughter: mwana (same with child)
Cigarette/ tobacco: hona
Beer/ wine: wine
Drugs: we got none available
I have been robbed: it will not happen to you here
I want a place to sleep: nkhupenja kwa kugona
Six: vinkhonde na chimo
Seven: vinkhonde na viwiri
Eight: vinkhonde na vitatu
Nine: vinkhonde na vinayi
Eleven: khumi na chimo
20: makhumi ghawiri
55: makhumi ghankhonde na vinkhonde
1000: makhumi khumi khumi
My friend: mnyani
My wife: mwanakazi wane
You (plural): imwe
You (singular): iwe
Croc: ng'wina (whenever the apostrophe ' separates "Ng" and another word, it is pronounced as "ng" in 'running'
I love you: nkhukutemwa ("mwa" pronounced as the French "moi")
It's delicious: yikunowa
Boat/ cruise: boti
Any form of hitch hiking: matola
It's getting dark: kukufipa
Today is the 13th Anniversary of my mother's death. I was a small kid when she passed (I actually thought the elders were pulling a stunt on me and that mum would return). Her death was surrounded in drama and I will try to recount it.
I am a sixth born in a family of six boys and two girls. My father and mother were secondary and primary school teachers respectively. When father died in 1994 or 5, we moved from the big secondary school houses to the tiny primary school houses at Homestead in Livingstonia, Rumphi, Malawi.
November- Before her death
Mama, Judith Chikoya Donaria Nyasulu, had been struggling with illness for years, she was on and off and her hospitalization no longer became surprising.
Every November or December was special to our family as a select few of us children were selected to go on Holiday at our Lakeshore village (Mlowe). The holiday was an event everyone wanted because there were mangoes, 5 hours of fresh water, sun basking and fishing to be enjoyed.
This particular November, I was left and made to stay with Mama as my closest siblings Paul and Peter went on the lake trip. I was determined to follow my brothers on this holiday.
I took advantage of my weak mother to trick one of the drivers she knew telling him that I needed to go to the village. When I arrived at the village, I was so happy that even the news that mother had been hospitalised never struck me. The lake felt my arrival and presence.
Meanwhile mother was getting seriously weak in the hospital and the house needed us boys to deal with wood chopping, and delivering food to the hospital so we were summoned via wireless message(there was no telephone, or these fancy gadgets you carry now). We had no transport money so we decided to travel on foot from Mlowe (village) to Livingstonia.
We rose up early and we hit the road: three minors trying to cover about 50 kilometres of mainly hills, I now know that we loved mother, all of us.
2 or 4 hours after we left the village, news that mother had died reached the village and as a custom the body was to be taken to the village-such that our going to Livingstonia was useless; we needed to turn back and wait for the body for burial...but we didn't know she was dead yet, so we moved on.
Wireless messages were exchanged and an aunt who lives enroute to Livingstonia was put on alert, "when you see the three boys, stop them their mother has just died," I suspect that is what they told her.
As we were passing, or did we drop in to drink water (Aunties house is really 20 meters from the main road at Luwuchi) we got our orders to go back to Mlowe.
Aunt lied that there was a car coming from Livingstonia to pick us up and that we had to go back 12 kilometres to wait for the car. Why couldn't we just wait for the car there? And did I saw a tear in Aunties eyes as she lied to us? I started sobbing.
"Why are you crying?" someone asked me and I told them that I was hungry, a perfect answer from an 11 year old me. Nobody gave me food and I wasn't hungry anyway, I don't know about my brothers but I knew that something was amiss.
And so we journeyed back 12 kilometres. And it was a quiet walk, we spoke little and we were in for a surprise.
To reach our home we had to go down a hill and cross a river and when we were at the highest point overlooking our village I heard the cries and nobody needed to tell me why people were crying.
What I remember when I reached the house is that the grey sofa had been moved to pave the way for mourners and we were brought into the midst as if to induce the people sympathy so that they should cry out more.
Every mourner that came sparked even a louder roar (just like at a football match, for those who haven't been to an African funeral). What I remember vividly is my blind grandmother who grabbed me and seemed to announce the funeral to me as she shook me vigorously.
"Your mother has knelt!" granny said repeatedly, "Donaria [my mother's village name], you have left us war."
I wonder what the war was but for the first time in my life I collapsed, week to the bones and the sight of Peter or Paul was even more defeating. But the infant in me still told me that mama was not gone forever. I was wrong; to grow up without a mother is torture. (To be continued...)
Friday, November 26, 2010
The smells that greet your buds
Make granite soft
Fresh, dry and rotten fish
Mangoes, potato peels transforming to soil
Scents for one endure
Like an elephant step on a baby mushroom
Curses, babies, rap and genreless music
Bicycles cranks, religious and drunken choirs
Big Ben is smooth
Buy me a sight filter
To rid the faeces in my path
Breasts peeping and babies reaching for them
Babies with the slimmest nostrils
Cream houses, dusty and fake hair
Petticoats are not extinct?
Thursday, November 25, 2010
May it be it love
That which I feel whenever I steal a glance at you
The colour of which like a snow-white dove
If it were fruit, mangoes she would be
That which lulls when I think over it
May it be love
May they rock
Those goods you have in store for me
Let them not suck
For that is what I seek of thee
You I will follow like wind the airport sock
Growing up in a family of eight siblings is not the best thing to happen to somebody but to me it has proven the best experience ever, of course excluding the fights, the scramble for food and the competition for attention for attention from our parents.
Very few people would lie that they grew up in the 1990's and never felt the effect of reggae music, well I did in fact something happen ed with the advent of democracy that saw an influx of reggae cassettes into Malawi: Culture, Israel Vibration, UB40-there were times when discos refused to end until some reggae numbers were played tunes like UB40 'stick by me' or 'dub of injustice' by Israel Vibration.
My sibling adopted different names of Jamaican artists one called himself 'Grandson' mimicking Peter Tot and I was among them all the time but not knowing which name to use as a nickname and for some reason I ended up being called Cocoa-Tea in my secondary schools days but deep in my heart my best artists remained Mutabaruka and Culture's lead singer Joseph Hill.
In 2004 I could not wait any longer, I started terming myself Mutabaruka and my form four at St. Peters secondary school cemented the name as people never knew what it meant and yet liked it.
Fast-forward to 2010 am doing my internships with Blantyre Newspaper Limited in Mzuzu and being in Mzuzu where the paper delays to come I gets a call in the morning from my sister asking me if I was going to grace the Mutabaruka show. I jump from the chair and my fear is confirmed via twitter what would I do as penniless as I was then?
By 5pm that day I had got 14 calls some who had just realised that the name Mutabaruka was not mine after all and some who said I should not miss the show, my Facebook chat also saw pop ups like "mutaba! You coming to see your friend?"
I am not the spending type especially with my sober habits and I had no will to go but I was starting to feel obliged to attend the show at French cultural Centre and it was priced just at K500 but still I had stories to write and I had not made a decision yet.
It was Thursday and the show was the next day as I sat writing a story I told myself that I heard Mutabaruka chanting and when I opened the day's paper the man had arrived in the country, I panicked. I talked to my boss and he granted me leave especially after I lied that there was a wedding…but the money?
It was around 3pm and if I were to attend the show I had to leave in the next three hours because it's a good 12 hours to Blantyre, as I sat wondering where the transport money would come from I remembered that I kept my sisters ATM since she lives in a very rural area, suddenly I was good to go.
Equipped with a K5000 fished from my sisters account and a K1000 I had put together in the morning I wore a confident face and when a pickup with a Blantyre address caught my eyes I knew I was a step from Mutabaruka-despite an inscription not to get passenger, I paid the driver of this other company a K1500 and by four in the morning I was in Blantyre.
Skip the details where I wait for dawn to buy the ticket and where I slept but just fast-forward to dusk where I go to the French cultural Centre and there was the man without security around him and when I inched closer I saw who he was arguing with and I nearly cried; it was my blood brother, 'Grandson!'
I had to talk to the man to, so I fished out my dig cam and came to him as a journalist I said excuse me but no one seemed to care and my brother came and whispered to me, "if you waan fi talk fi de man just chip in," I did and soon I was arguing with my namesake, my model and hero over the role of Hemp in Rastafarianism.
Before I could pass the five minute mark, the show was declared start and as guest of honour Mutabaruka was ushered towards one of the front seats, I felt a loss but something tingled and my stomach felt light I had seen a man I have idolised for over 14 years.
When I sat down I was surprised to see some friends who I am sure had come on my insistence of course some had dates but who cares there I was and I knew that if there was anyone in within a hundred meters that can talk about Mutabaruka, I was only second to my brother because it was him we competed on downloading the poets speeches on his cutting edge radio show, lyrics and songs.
When Muta took to the stage, I knew exactly what to expect, I recited after him verbatim and when he touched on sensitive issues in his interludes that saw some people walk out of the show and some flinch uncomfortably, I just smiled and across the yard I saw my brother-also reciting every word.
I had no money to buy Muta's CD's or books with his autograph but I just walk up to him and gave out my hand which he took in enearst and I said "Muta, this was bigger than your encounter with Ian Boyne," he opened his eyes wider and refused to let go of my hand and said, "you saw that on the web? Thanks." I know he knew that I was not an ordinary fan and I hope he will remember the meeting like I do.
Before I could start my journey back to Mzuzu I had one more Mutabaruka fanatic to meet,BBC's Raphael Tenthani. I was in the back of his car and despite Chachacha Munthali barking to him to start the car, Raphael was fumbling over a Mutabaruka disc he had just bought and he wanted it played right there before he could start the car.
"I wonder if his autograph is clear, the signature is on a dark spot…I am meeting him at Shire Highland Hotel tomorrow," said Tenthani
I just smiled at Tenthani's acts and the next day I was on the bus and despite it being a really old machine breaking down and delaying us in Chikangawa and a phone call that some people had been drinking in my house fighting and toppling over things, I knew they were peripherals, I had my memories.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
|check where i have come from, the road in the background!|
Dirges, eulogies and tears
Quantifiable, contractible or written in heaven
Women labour with pregnancy
Women labour with diapers, noisy infants and boys and their toys
Death, yet comes to shatter all that was
In a split second no one can see it
Why do was he born only to die again?
Do we die so we can live again?
Then come myths, religion and tradition
This one wants a body burnt
That one the carcass naked
The other the body worshiped
Is it worthy?
Neglecting the sick
Yet when dead adorning with diamonds and tuxedos and caskets?
Do they hear the words we shower, the dead
Do they smell the roses we stash on the graves?
Do they blame us for their passing?
Is necropolis better than earth?
Is there class or caste
Is the good life the preacher promise really there?
What is there so that one should leave the cinemas?
The love and the internet of the world
To a life under thick trees?
O ye dead men and women
If only you posted on my page pictures form necropolis
How mysterious you are
Soon, if you can hear
I too will be arriving
|Some of Mzuzu-based jornalist captured at an earlier function, with me sitting down!|
Thursday, November 18, 2010
|Mbowela (man) listens to a question from one of the ladies.|
|Ethel Mwakalini(standing) makes her point|
|The Largest clothes Market in Malawi, its called the Mataifa Market because 90% of the merchandise in it comes from Tanzania|
|a large untapped wasteland has developed into a beatiful panorama with fish and alot of fauna breeding in the evergreens|
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Many people avoid the question saying it has got no faith value and that it is divisive, some will even say it is blasphemous but the protests don’t send the question away: is God’s race black or white?
Before the theologically initiated could speak on the issue, I talked to a group of wheelbarrow peddlers just outside Chenda Motel in Mzuzu, the question was the same: is God white or black? Two of the six saw the question as blasphemous, one abstained and the other three?
“I think God is a white man, just look at what the white man invents. The white man does a lot of things that put him at closer with God,” said Evance Gondwe.
“According to the Bible, Jesus was there before creation because it is written that the three agreed to create man in their image there is no statement that said he was of this colour thus to me God is colourless,” said Scot Neba.
“They say I was created in his image right? I am black, therefore God is black-simple,” said Kondwani Tembo.
The question is really a hot potato out of six people with similar traits there are more than three views? Well enough of the vendors how much do they know anyway? Maybe their leaders can suffice.
300 meters is the Islamic information Bureau headed by a sheik who doesn’t hide that he avoids journalists, I, however, managed to soften him into dialogue, the same raw question was asked.
“Black and white are not colours to term a human, this is white [plain paper] and this is black [phone charger], no creature has seen God it’s why we should not even say that God is a spirit because nobody has seen him,” said Sheik Ibrahim Fiqrah, Coordinator of the Mzuzu Islamic information bureau.
The other more radical view is held by many black consciousness sympathisers who argue that accepting a white God means that black people are second class. Two of the more outspoken people with these views include Jamaicans Allan Hope and Hubert Mackintosh.
“The view that the only son of God was a Jew means that his father is a Jew too and where does that leave a black man?” said Peter Tosh in a 1970’s interview.
Allan Hope disputes the portrayal by Catholics and Jehovah’s witnesses in which Jesus is shown as a Caucasian with flowing blonde hair and blue eyes. Hope says this perpetuates colour blindness among black people as they think that everything white is good and thus rejects their own history.
Another Jamaican (Macka B) quoted Revelation 1:14 and Daniel 7:9 where John and Daniel describe God as they saw him in their visions saying (Daniel) “...the ancient of days took his seat…the hair of his head was white like wool.” Many who argue for a black God quote this verse saying only black people have woollen hair.
A lot of people will take the view that God’s colour does not matter but one wonders whether the likes of Hitler and Constantine could have accepted God if they knew he was a black man.
Many also attribute the current wealth of the West to the use of a white God to subjugate black people by making them leave their religions to take up Christianity which also meant them submitting their land and confidence.
God himself has not made any statement that can be accepted by many warring parties in the debate and as people kill and quarrel in his name only one man’s words can sum the debate: “Time will tell,” sang Bob Marley.
Then we read about the students of The Rangoon Colleges in Burma, who managed to pressure Ne Win, Sein Lwin and force Maung Maung to move towards democracy in 1988.
Famous to many are the Soweto demonstrations against teaching using Afrikaans in public schools and the Tiananmen Square (China) demonstrations against communist rule in 1989. They are thus not a new thing, these demonstrations.
Students do not just go on the rampage, they are inspired by great men; Stephen Biko was a medical student when he started the Black Consciousness Movement; Nelson Mandela was booted out of Fort Hare University for organizing demonstrations.
Students are also exposed to the ideas of Karl Marx who teaches resistance to top-down decisions, Che Guevara, Islamic militancy and even radicals like Peter Macintosh who believed that “peace is the diploma one gets at the cemetery.”
No one blames the university administration or government-and I know it’s because they only see the violence not the buildup.
Here is a cross section of some of the events that shook University of Malawi (UNIMA) earlier this millennium and notice the facts of the students’ cases.
Surprisingly the then principal suspended all students. A legal battle ensued and classes resumed, but time had gone and the calendar suffered. Who do we blame?
In 2007 UNIMA lecturers wanted 200% a pay hike, inspired by the high MP salaries; the ensuing strike affected the calendar by at least five weeks. Instead of closing on 13th November the schools closed on 23rd December. Even in 2009 the semester that was supposed to begin on March 8 was pushed to the 23rd. Do we still blame students?
Society should also understand dynamics, the students especially the social science ones, understand that the media have power so if they block the highway, for example, the media will report the issue directly to the relevant authorities with veto powers over the usually stubborn university administrators.
Society should also remember that most youths are just past puberty when they reach university so a flash of private parts or obscene words is but a good thing after all it’s a celebration of freedom from the strict home.
In 1968, for example, the Mexican president ignored the demands of the students and what followed was the creation and widening of the poor-rich gap.