Belias Kanduna RIP

Dear All,
Joseph_MakokaI have just received the sad news that Joseph Makoka‘s grandfather, Belias Kanduna, died last night.  He passed away in Dedza Hospital after a short illness.
The burial and funeral Mass will take place today (18th July) at 12:00 noon at Dedza Sawmill. May Belias’ soul rest in peace.
Please keep Belias, Joseph, who is currently on home leave in Malawi, and his family in your prayers.

Bill Turnbull, Malawi Delegate Superior.

Invitation to the priestly ordination of Lowrent Thokozani Kamwaza

Lowrent Thokozani KamwazaI know in whom I have put my Trust, and I have no doubt at all” (2Timothy 1: 12)

In a profound way these words synthesize my missionary vocation journey. The ten years of my initial formation have been in many ways a journey of trust in the One calling me: Jesus Christ. Trust in that voice so deep within me: “Oh! The word of my Lord deep within my being… Before I formed you in the womb I knew you through and through and had called you to be my son.” Everything has been about trust and experiencing the love of God. Trust in those accompanying me and trust in myself that with God’s grace, I respond positively to my sensed call to priesthood as a Missionary of Africa. I pray and believe that this will mark my whole missionary journey: “I know in whom I have put my trust, and I have no doubt at all” (2Timothy 1: 12). Indeed a journey of love and trust in God’s graces that have led me this far in life. I remain grateful to all of you, confreres and friends, who have helped me to experience this trust in the one calling me into his vineyard as a priest of the order of Melchizedeck.

It is on this beautiful note that I invite you all to join me on this wonderful day of my priestly ordination, Saturday 13th July 2013 at Kasina parish of Dedza Diocese in Malawi by His Lordship Bishop Emmanuel Kanyama and thanksgiving mass on 14th July 2013 in my home village Mtenje of Kasina Parish. I look forward to be united with you all in presence and prayers.

Yours fraternally,

Lowrent Thokozani Kamwaza, M.Afr

CfSC May 2013 Basic Needs Basket and Press Statement

CfSC May 02 2013
The Centre for Social Concern (CfSC), has worryingly observed that the 2013/14 national budget, just like the preceding 2012/13 national budget, is not people centred. While acknowledging the fact that the current budget has been framed in the context of a stagnating economy that is struggling to emerge from a downturn, CfSC believes that government should have balanced the twofold equally important tasks of stabilising the country’s economy by giving incentives to the private sector (as the engine of growth) and also protecting the vulnerable through adequate social spending to reduce poverty.
 While acknowledging the troubling reality that Malawi is now back under the wings of the Bretton Woods Institutions (IMF and World Bank) CfSC believes that in engaging these institutions Malawi government should do so in cognisance of the lessons learnt from the recent past. READ MORE

Radio Tigabane: pastoral and social programmes for northern Malawi

Moved by the Love of Christ – serving the suffering Christ
Aid to the Church in Need is an international charity of and for the Catholic Church. We give a voice and render relief to Catholics persecuted and oppressed for their Faith. We firmly believe the world needs a living Faith in God. Through our work we nurture a family of benefactors and project partners united in prayer and solidarity.
Robert Lalonde, Head of information, Aid to the Church in Need
Radio Tigabane: pastoral and social programmes for northern MalawiACN 2
by Reinhard Backes, Aid to the Church in Need (CAN) International / Amanda Bridget Griffin, Canada
Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries. On the United Nations Development Programme’s 2011 human development index, this south-east African state ranks 171 out of 187. In addition Malawi is one of Africa’s most densely populated countries. More than 80 per cent of Malawians are Christians, including about one quarter Catholics. According to statistics the proportion of Muslims is 13 per cent.
The diocese of Mzuzu in northern Malawi is the fastest growing Catholic diocese in the country, according to its own figures. A letter from the diocese to the international Catholic pastoral charity “Aid to the Church in Need” states: “Every year more than 6,000 adults are taken into the Catholic Church. Most are converts from other Christian denominations.” To reach as many of the faithful as possible, the diocese maintains its own broadcasting station, “Radio Tigabane”. The name comes from the local Tumbuka language and means “share”.
The programmes on “Radio Tigabane” are, according to the director, Father Eugene W. Ngoma, geared to the needs of the population in this rural area: “Alongside the weekly religious programmes – broadcast of the Sunday mass, prayers and the rosary – we offer programmes on health, education, justice and peace as well as on socio-economic development. In doing this we are adhering to an ecumenical principle because our listeners include not only Catholics, but also Christians of other denominations and Muslims.”
And according to Father Ngoma other beneficiaries are the Diocesan Commissions for Education, Development, Health, Justice and Peace as well as Pastoral Work, who address primarily socially disadvantaged groups through a wide range of initiatives.


Peter Wazili Chitondo B
By Peter Wazili Chitondo
I look up in the sky I see free birds
Flying high the horizon
While my people are weeping
Struggling to be free like a crying bird
In the hand of the oppressor
For by force they are smuggled
To far countries they are taken
To be used as sex workers and drug dealers
Yes both boys and girls are victims
For hard labour they are used with poor conditions
Yet good wages they are refused
Who is accountable for their suffering?
It’s all because of you! And me!
Who have kept our mouths shut like a door?
And have failed to be a walking stick 
In the hand of the most vulnerable
Yes a patient heart do we need
To listen to the voice of the voiceless
An intelligent mind we need not
That only talks without actions
Together lets fight modern slavery

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Also, two articles written by M.Afr students in Balaka:

Lechaptois Formation House in Balaka put up a good show at the Crossroads Hotel: Lilongwe, March 26th

By Claudio Zuccala, M.AfrClaudio Zuccala 2013

Our students from Lechaptois Formation House in Balaka put up a good show at the Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe on March 26th. In front of a small but very keen audience our candidates presented two plays: “Cheap Labour” and “The Changes Identity of Slavery”. The first depicts a plantation owner in the States who is convinced to buy slaves by an unscrupulous slave trader but who is then convinced by a missionary into looking at them as human beings and eventually granting them their freedom. The second tackles the problem of modern day human trafficking: it’s the story of two young people, brother and sister, who are allured by promises made by an agent based in America only to be savagely exploited once they get to their destination.

After that we had a lively discussion on the broad issue of modern forms of slavery in Malawi with a panel made up by our confrere Jos Kuppens, Sister Florence Mwamba, the director of the Tikondane project (street children), Habiba Osman Norwegian Church Aid Programme Coordinator on Human Rights, and Raphael Sandram, voicing the concerns of the Malawi tobacco tenants. Leading the debate and weaving together the different parts of the evening was TV moderator and journalist Wisdom Chimgwede who did an excellent job.

The only disappointment was the late arrival of Luntha TV. There was some serious hiccup and the TV crew only turned up half way through the show so I don’t really know what will happen to the DVD which they were supposed to produce. Pity really for an otherwise well prepared event. A few minor details can be improved on but certainly not the enthusiasm, hard work and good will of our candidates (plus the staff at Balaka and another couple of confreres) who have given their best.

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Balaka Drama Group – Antislavery

Let us break the chains LogoLechaptois (Balaka) Drama Group – 125 Anniversary of Cardinal Lavigerie’s Antislavery Campaign
As part of the Malawi Sector’s commemoration of the Cardinal’s Antislavery Campaign the M.Afr students in the SAP First Cycle will come to Lilongwe on Monday on 25th March to perform two short plays and a poem at two venues: St Francis Parish and Crossroads Hotel.
Luntha TV will be there to film the plays and discussion on Tuesday.  They will air it and we hope to have a DVD that can be circulated.
Everyone is welcome both at St Francis and Crossroads. 
The events will take place as follows:
Date: Monday 25th March 2013
Time: 3-5.30 p.m.
Venue: New Hall, St Francis, Kanengo, Lilongwe (A25).
Programme: 1. Play 1 – “Cheap Labour”- slavery in the past. 2. Poem – Africa, where are you? 3. Play 2 – “The Changed Identity of Slavery” – slavery / human trafficking in the present. 4. Discussion.
Date: Tuesday 26th March 2013
Time: 6-8.30 p.m.
Venu: The Auditorium, Crossroads Hotel, Lilongwe (A3)
Programme: 1. Welcome – by MC Wisdom Chimgwede. 2.
Opening Prayer. 3. Introduction – Bill Turnbull. 4. Play 1 – “Cheap Labour”- slavery in the past. 5. Poem – Africa, where are you? 6. Play 2 – “The Changed Identity of Slavery” – slavery / human trafficking in the present. 7. Link – just a few words. 8. Panel and open discussion. 9. Closing remarks. 10. Closing prayer. 11. Drinks and snacks.

CfSC Basic Needs Basket Analytical report for January 2013 – Malawi

Rural Basic Needs Basket Analytical report for January 2013 in Malawi shows that the majority of rural households are poor since they are living below a dollar a day.
During the month of February, CfSC’s Rural BNB project conducted a Rapid Rural Appraisal in its operation areas to assess the availability and prices of maize. It was found out that maize prices ranged between MK 7000 and MK 10,000 a bag of 50 kg. This was too much expensive for a rural household. Those who had no or too little maize and money resorted into consuming maize bran. Those who had completely nothing, slept on an empty stomach or could even consume leafy vegetables only. READ MORE
Maize scacity bites rural population
Press statement published in the Daily Times of 21st March, 2013

New DVD from Kungoni Centre in Mua, Malawi

Kasiya Maliro DVD - CopieNew DVD from Kungoni Centre in Mua, Malawi 
This documentary, produced by Kungoni Centre of Culture and Art, presents a collection of 160 Gule characters filmed by Claude Boucher Chisale over 25 years (1988 to 2012) in the central Malawian areas of Mua, Mtakataka, Kapiri and Golomoti.
It reveals Gule Wamkulu as the storehouse of Chewa culture, showing the richness, creativity and originality of the Great Dance, which is placed at the service of the Mwambo, the teaching of the ancestors.
The film offers first-hand experience of the tremendous variety of characters and seeks to understand their hidden messages. It comprises a selection of sequences taken from the 800 hours of filming that Boucher has completed during these last three decades.
The key to an in-depth understanding of the Gule characters is to be found in Boucher’s two recent publications: “When Animals Sing and Spirits Dance’ (Oxford 2012) and its accompanying website;
The DVD introduces the author and illustrates the numerous contexts in which Gule Wamkulu is performed: rain ceremonies, initiation, chieftainship, eldership, spirit possession, funeral commemoration, institutional and village festivals and political and health development rallies. The 160 Gule characters selected for this production are then presented in alphabetical order.
The film offers a full visual experience of what has been described in the two publications mentioned above. It complements the publications and invites deeper immersion into Chewa culture.
@ Kungoni 2012. Running time: 121 minutes.

MALAWI: Rich 20% of population silent to plight of 80% poor

Lilongwe, Malawi (Agenzia Fides) – The Catholic Bishops of Malawi have expressed gratitude for the solution to a serious two week tug of war between the government and civil servants demanding a 67% pay rise. Protests caused serious social disruption. The authorities have agreed on a 61% per cent increase to the lowest salaries and 5% to the highest ones.
In a statement sent to Fides by the Bishops’ Commission for Justice and Peace, the Catholic Church in Malawi, tracing the roots of the trade union crisis, takes a position regarding the economic crisis which has afflicted the country for some time. The statement says the decision to devaluate Malawi Kwacha and continued floatation and the linkage of the fuel prices to the global market prices leading to automatic fuel price adjustments is worsening the economic situation of the people.
The Commission also criticises certain economic moves of the government such as the decision to privilege some investments over others.
These economic measures, say “Justice and Peace” have created a serious social fracture. “Malawi is seriously entrenching a two-tier society with over 80% of the population struggling to survive and depending on poor, over-stretched and quality-compromised public service delivery; while the 20% are affording privatized education, health and security services.” the statement affirms “This 20% of the population that is able is creating a section of passive and irresponsive citizenry that has become silent to the plight and cries of the majority poor”. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 25/2/2013)

Death of Pierre Kuppens, brother of our confrere Jos Kuppens

Dear All,
This morning we received the sad news that Pierre Kuppens, Jos’ elder brother, has died.  He suffered a brain haemorrhage on Wednesday and passed away at about 9 o’clock.  Pierre leaves a wife and three grown children.  May his soul rest in peace.
Let us keep Jos Kuppens and his family in our prayers at this sad time.
William Turnbull
Sector Superior-Malawi
Message sent on the 22nd February 2013

CfSC December 2012 Press Statement

The increase in electricity tariffs is leading to Service Exclusion

Addressing poverty continues to be identified as a major challenge for Malawian society and has been a central topic that successive governments have attempted to tackle or at least pretended to do so. Commitments in Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS), pronouncements in the newly launched Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) and various key government documents underscore that view. However, in spite of all these attempts to address poverty the reality is grim: poverty in Malawi remains severe and widespread – a situation that leaves millions to grapple, on a daily basis, with the unabating increase in food and essential non-food commodities. The ever rising cost of living presents to the country an extremely serious challenge upon which all efforts must be concentrated so as to ease people’s daily suffering. (…)

Our confreres in Malawi

– Father Jean Arnaud, French, Chezi Parish – Father Claude Boucher, Canadian, Kungoni Centre – Father Christophe Boyer, French, Lilongwe, CfSC – Father Michel Côté, Canadian, Lilongwe, Sector House – Father Richard Deschênes, Canadian, Mzuzu – Father Filiyanus Ekka, Indian, Chezi Parish – Father Ortega Julio Feliu, Spanish, Lilongwe, Sector House –  Father Bonaventure Gubazire, Ugandan, Balaka, Lechaptois – Father Sebastien Kalengwe, Congolese, Mua Parish – Father Simeon Kalore, Ethiopian, Chezi Parish, Father Julian Kasiya, Malawian, Mua Parish – Father Willem Kerkhof, Dutch, Lilongwe, Sector House – Father Jos Kuppens, Dutch, Lilongwe, CfSC – Father Michael Mawelera, Malawian, Balaka, Lechaptois – Father Philip Meraba, Nigerian, Lilongwe, Kanengo – Father Didasio Mwanza, Zambian, Balaka, Lechaptois – Father Paul Namono, Burkinabe, Mua Parish – Father Brendan O’Shea, Irish, Mua Parish – Jacques Pallas, Canadian, Lilongwe, Sector House – Bishop Rémi Sainte-Marie, Canadian, Lilongwe – Father Michel Sanou, Burkinabe, Lilongwe, Kanengo – Father Robert Tebri, Ghanaian, Balaka, Lechaptois – Father William Turnbull, British, Lilongwe, CfSC – Father Piet van Hulten, Dutch, Mzuzu – Father Moïse Kombe Yébédié, Malian, Chezi Parish