2018 Kungoni Cultural Festival


Kungoni_Open_Day_2018By Robert Kalindiza

As Malawi prepares to conduct a tripartite election, Father Claude Boucher Chisale decided to pass the message of elections in this year’s cultural performances.

Before different dances, there was a traditional Mass. The preacher was Bishop Montfort Sitima of Mangochi diocese. Over six priests accompanied Father Boucher including Father Michel Sanou as the official representative of the Missionaries of Africa in Malawi. Many people from different parts of the world were also in attendance.

Over thirty dances were showcased.

Message of Fr Gilbert Rukondo, M.Afr, from Nigeria.


Father Rukundo sent a message from Nigeria sharing with us his missionary life. Here below a short presentation of himself (in English) and his story (in French).

02 Gilbert 2I was born in Rwanda in 1982. After my secondary school, I started my studies in philosophy in the Democratic Republic of Congo at ‘La Ruzizi’ formation Centre from 2004 to 2007. Then, in 2007-2008, I did my spiritual year at Kasama situated in the Northern Part of Zambia. From there, I went to Malawi where I spent two years between 2008 and 2010 for my pastoral experience. I learnt Chichewa at Mua when Serge St-Arneault was in charge of our language course. I still have the certificate he awarded us at the end of our language course.

Serge Gilbert Salima LakeInterestingly, Stephen Kajendran, Didus Baguma and myself, we arrived at Mua the day before the Kungoni cultural day. It was very colourful only that I could not understand what was happening. At Mua, we were in the community with Serge, Julio Feliu and Claude Boucher. After it, I joined the community of Chezi on the top of the mountain between the capital Lilongwe and Lake Malawi. It was in November 2010. I stayed with André Bilodeau, Jean Arnaud and Michel Sanou who left soon after my arrival for his studies. Then Serge St-Arneault joined us sometimes in May of the same year.

Sisters of Mary MediatrixChezi was a beautiful place to be. Moving around to various churches was challenging but I liked it and I felt that people loved me. I had a nice community that trusted and supported me. I also appreciated visiting the orphanage under the care of the Sisters of Mary Mediatrix. I enjoyed as well the organisation of Malawi as a Sector, the moments of meetings and celebrations of various events.

I remember the day I renewed my declaration of intent! It was a great day for me, many confreres came from Lilongwe to grace it and Martin Onyango called it a “mini-ordination”. By the way, the binocular you gave me is still functional. I have it still. Life in Malawi was great. Thank you for those years we shared. Zikomo kwambiri!

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Dans les eaux profondes : une église à construire.

Par le père Gilbert Rukundo, M.Afr

J’ai été nommé à la Paroisse de Saint-Vincent de Paul à Ogo-Oluwa dans le diocèse d’Osogbo lorsque je suis arrivée au Nigeria en octobre 2013. J’y ai vécu une expérience épanouissante pendant trois ans. Je m’y sentais très à l’aise avec tout le monde. Ensuite, j’ai été nommé à Saint-Augustin à Oojo dans l’archidiocèse d’Ibadan qui était une succursale de la grande paroisse de l’Apôtre St-Thomas à Agbowo avant de devenir une paroisse autonome.

En accord avec l’Archevêque et le conseil provincial des Missionnaires d’Afrique, nous avons unanimement accepté de prendre en charge ce projet même s’il devenait inévitable que l’un de nous quitte son poste. Le choix est tombé sur moi et je l’ai acceptée d’un bon cœur. À vrai dire, j’étais l’un de protagonistes pour que Saint-Augustin devienne une paroisse.

En conséquence, je devrais me séparer de la communauté chrétienne d’Ogo-Oluwa qui a été témoin de mes premiers pas missionnaires juste après mon ordination sacerdotale le 17 août 2013. Ce fut une séparation douloureuse. Comme un adage dit : partir c’est mourir un peu.

La communauté chrétienne d’Ogo-Oluwa a organisé une fête d’adieu en soulignant quelques faits marquants de mon séjour. Étaient présents l’Évêque Mgr John Akinkunmi Oyejola les prêtres et religieux de notre doyenné, les staffs de l’hôpital Our Lady of Fatima où j’étais aumônier et les chrétiens de St-Vincent de Paul. Ils resteront toujours gravés dans ma mémoire.

Par contre, la communauté chrétienne de Saint-Augustin est à construire. L’église et les bureaux sont encore en chantier tout comme le presbytère. Milieu dynamique, Saint-Augustin englobe plusieurs tribus venant de partout au Nigeria. La population est composée de quelques pensionnaires militaires et des jeunes venus d’un peu partout à la recherche d’une meilleure vie et qui font des petits commerces au marché d’Ojoo qui n’est pas loin de l’église.

Mgr. Gabriel Adeleke Abegunrin 2À l’exemple de Saint-Augustin élevée au statut de quasi-Parish en février 2015, une autre succursale nommée St-Martin-de-Porres prend racine, située à cinq kilomètres seulement de Saint-Augustin. La fondation de l’église a été bénie par l’archevêque d’Ibadan Mgr. Gabriel Adeleke Abegunrin le 21 mai 2017. Les fidèles prennent à cœur le défi de bâtir les bâtiments dans l’entraide.

Les nouveaux registres des chrétiens demandent beaucoup de travail. Pour le moment, je garde la plupart des dossiers paroissiaux dans ma chambre en attendant la construction d’un bureau temporaire qui est une priorité, dès que le toit sera mis sur l’église.

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Nous célébrons la messe quatre fois par semaine. Le dimanche, même inachevée, l’église est n’a pas assez d’espace pour tout le monde. Confiant que tout se passera bien, la joie et l’enthousiasme des communautés très généreuses qui célèbrent son Seigneur sont au rendez-vous. Je considère ma mission actuelle comme une plongée dans les eaux profondes. Conscient que ce n’est pas ma mission, mais une participation dans la mission du Christ, je trouve ma consolation dans le service que j’offre comme Missionnaire d’Afrique.

Mua Parish Celebration in Dedza diocese, Malawi.


Mua 08
Vice-President of the Republic of Malawi Dr Saulos Chilima making a speech.

By Robert Kalindiza

On Saturday the 23rd September 2017, Vice-President of the Republic of Malawi, Right Honourable Saulos Klaus Chilima, attended an important celebration at Mua parish which was celebrating 115 years since its establishment. At the same occasion, Father Claude Boucher Chisale celebrated his golden jubilee of priesthood while the catechist Simon Panyani celebrated his silver jubilee.

Highly attended, the Kungoni troupe dance formed some twenty years ago by Father Boucher, gave a great performance. Mgr Emmanuele Kanyama, Bishop of Dedza diocese, enhanced the occasion with over twenty diocesan and missionary priests in attendance. Even Juliana Lunguzi, Member of Parliament for Dedza East who happens to be a Christian of Mua parish, was present.

During his speech, Father Felix Phiri, Provincial of the Missionaries of Afrika commended Father Claude Boucher for planting good seeds in the hearts of Mua people and elsewhere through the preservation of African culture. Nowadays, few missionaries can expect to remain for very long at the same place. Father Boucher is one of the few. But, as he says; “an old tree cannot be replanted, otherwise it will die.”

The Vice-President also commended the work of Father Boucher Chisale thereby urging other people to do the same. He also advised the gathering to take care of the environment in order to avoid contributing to faster climate change. The celebration ended with a great feast at the Fathers’ house.

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September 2016 Kungoni Newsletter


kungoni-art-work-2016-03-blogFather Claude Boucher Chisale celebrated his 75th birthday on August 2, 2016. A week later, the Chamare festival commemorated the 40th anniversary of Kungoni Centre of Culture and Art. Various media houses such as TVM, Times newspaper, Zodiak radio, Luntha TV, Luso TV, were present. The theme of this year festival was the one proclaimed by Pope Francis for this year of mercy. A play was performed to emphasise that wealth is not the only value which one has to cherish. Malawi is very rich in spirituality that stress the importance of our common humanity. An incluturated Mass was celebrated where the homily was delivered by Father Kanyike, a Ugandan Comboni missionary. Other celebrants were Jos Kuppens, Claude Boucher, Kadzilawa and four diocesan priests from Dedza diocese.

See the September 2016 Kungoni Newsletter (Vol. 6, no 1) (12.3 Mo) for more news including Kungoni Artworks such as carvings for the South African embassy in Lilongwe, new fresco at Makakola retreat bar, Masanje paintings on canvas, Hippo view lodge commission carvings of Tchopa dancers. A special tribute is given too to Thomas Mpira, one of the most prominent artist of Kungoni.

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“Accumulating wealth is not the only purpose worth to live for”


KULEMERA SIKUFIKA, KACHIRAMBE ANAOMBOLA MALAWI, CHIKHALIDWE CHATHU CHIBWERERE = “Accumulating wealth is not the only purpose worth to live for”.

Malawi is not to be considered as a poor beggar who keeps stretching the hand but is very rich of spirituality that can be shared with the rest of the world especially with regard to our common humanity.

The play browse over a Bantu and Yao tale that feature a redeemer in the person of Kachirambe.

The story developed the theme of the land and its people that has been swallowed by a nasty monster in the form of a giant pumpkin. All except a young girl and her mother who escaped and lived hidden in the forest.

As the monster moves from village to village, it keeps getting bigger and stronger by swallowing people’s good behaviour and devouring the best of the people’s life and traditions. It destroys people’s humanity and change them into greedy creatures deprived of mercy, humanity and freedom. As the story unfolds, Malawi becomes the prey to corruption, greed, injustices, famine and even the murder as it is recently the case of albinos.

Albinos in MalawiChiefs are corrupt; they are bribed and cases are not resolved fairly. They are selling land to rich investors while the custodians of the land are left with little or no land to cultivate. Hospital staff are irresponsible and lack commitment; patients are not given much attention and are asked to pay money to be assisted. ADMARC staff are corrupt and greedy; if people don’t have money to bribe the officials, they are denied access to food supply  while the government deny of famine and proclaim that there is plenty of maize available. The most horrifying is the killing of people with albinism, apparently for money in exchange for their bones. Poverty grows daily and those who are poor are denied rights of speech and are prevented to access to the legal system in order to claim their rights. Greed has gripped Malawi. People’s humanity have been swallowed by the monster pumpkin.

The only survivors in our tale are a young girl called “Ndasiyidwa” (meaning; I was spared) and her mother called “Ndapulumuka” (meaning; I have survived). Ndasiyidwa was expecting a child. One day while Ndasiyidwa was busy collecting mushrooms in the forest, she took by accident a hyena’s egg and brought it home. The mother of Ndasiyidwa destroyed the egg by throwing it in the fire. The next day when the girl was collecting wild vegetables, she encountered the hyena for the first time and it asked who took its egg. Ndasiyidwa acknowledged that she was the one took the egg and that her mother had destroyed it in the fire. The hyena threatened that it will eat her. Ndasiyidwa told the hyena that she was expecting a baby soon and that it should eat the child instead of her. The hyena complied. Ndasiyidwa delivered her child, fully grown and equipped with weapons of a hunter. Her grandmother called him Kachirambe Mlera khungwa (meaning; the guardian of the people). Ndasiyidwa informed the hyena on her first trip to the forest that she had conceived her child, but that the child was so clever that the hyena could not come to term with it and that the hyena would fail to eat him. The hyena tried again and again to grab Kachirambe but failed. Instead Kachirambe killed the hyena and delivered his mother and grandmother from their common enemy.

One day as Kachirambe was chatting with his mother, he asked her what had happened to his dad. Ndasiyidwa told him that his father was devoured by the monster pumpkin called Mgalika mwambo (meaning; the swallower of tradition). Kachirambe swore that he will get rid of the monster pumpkin as he did with the hyena and enquired where the monster was hiding. Ndasiyidwa told him that it was hiding in the lake. The hero over the hyena Kachirambe, went for it and fought it with all his strength. He weakened it with his arrows and in the end he cut it open with his father’s dagger and freed all those who had been swallowed. His father on behalf of all the other victims, acknowledged that he had been greedy and selfish. He promised that he would return to the tradition and become more human. He would take seriously the advice of his ancestors. Money does not ultimately fulfil all of human aspirations.

The play ends with the great mother of the Chewa “Kasiya maliro” who condemns those who have gone astray through greed and lost their humanity and their own tradition. One has to live from his own values and not imitating the behaviour of others. Kachirambe portrays the power of Malawian culture over and against other influences that can disrupt Malawian culture and tradition if one is not deeply rooted into his own. Once Malawi has lost her own humanity, it has also lost the privilege of being called Malawian.

kachirambe_JPEGAccumulating wealth is not the only purpose worth to live for