“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

A Dangerous Divide. The State of Inequality in Malawi.


Please find a report from OXFAM on the growing and worrying inequality in Malawi. This was published in November and give a very good picture of the divide between the rich and poor. Bill Turnbull, M.Afr

Malawi inegality Dec 2015 02

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By Oxfam in Malawi’s Country Director, John Makina

Economic inequality has worsened significantly in Malawi in recent years. In 2004, the richest 10 percent of Malawians consumed 22 times more than the poorest 10 percent. By 2011 this had risen to see the richest 10 percent spending 34 times more than the poorest. Yet even this shocking statistic is likely to be a significant underestimate1. Anyone who has seen the many large mansions springing up on the edges of Lilongwe and Blantyre, and the plethora of new shopping malls being opened, knows that conspicuous consumption amongst the richest is dramatically growing. Malawi’s Gini coefficient, the key measure of inequality, also shows the extent to which robust economic growth is benefiting the rich whilst leaving the poor behind. In seven years of impressive growth, the Gini has leapt up from 0.39, on a par with Cameroon, to 0.45, on a par with the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Malawi inegality Dec 2015 05This study modelled the link between inequality, growth and poverty in Malawi over the next five years. In 2015, 8 million people – 50 percent of the country’s population – live in poverty. Yet if inequality continues to rise as it has in recent years, by 2020 1.5 million more Malawians will be poor3. Even if inequality stays broadly at the level it is now, there will still be 400,000 additional people living in poverty in Malawi by 20204. Unless Malawi acts now to reduce inequality, even rapid economic growth will fail to reduce poverty in the country.

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Conclusion

Inequality is not an accident, nor is it inevitable; it originates from policy choices. Consequently, some policy choices can worsen inequality while others reduce it. As is aptly pointed out by UNRISD, ‘Without deliberate policy interventions, high levels of inequality tend to be self-perpetuating. They lead to the development of political and economic institutions that work to maintain the political, economic and social privileges of the elite.

This study has identified a number of factors driving inequality in Malawi, and made clear that poverty reduction in Malawi will be faster if inequality decreases. But reducing inequality will not be a benign by-product of growth under trickle down assumptions. It will only happen as a result of deliberate joint policy efforts, which all Malawi’s government and civil society must unify behind.

Press statement for january 2015: Let us do something about poverty


Jos KuppensBy Jos Kuppens, M.Afr, Director of CfSC, Kanengo, Malawi

Recently it has been alleged that Malawi has been classified as the poorest nation. The report’s empirical analysis of poverty was based on income or consumption expenditure as a measure of wellbeing. But the weak correlation between income (or consumption) and welfare, means income may not be an all-encompassing indicator of welfare. Just as Amartya Sen urges, poverty measurements should go beyond income and look at other dimensions of wellbeing such as health, education, empowerment, freedom of association and so on. Income is often instrumentally important as a means of achieving other dimensions of wellbeing, but the other dimensions of wellbeing are intrinsically significant, and hence deserve recognition.

While many people were up in arms following such revelations, the nation needs reminding that the results of this recent report somehow tally with previous ones. In 2013 a Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) study by Oxford University said Malawi needs at least 74 years to eradicate its poverty. The study measured reductions in multidimensional poverty, overlapping deprivations in health, education and living standards among others. The study concluded that “using this measure, it was found that reductions in intensity – the percentage of deprivations people experience at the same time – were strongest in relatively poorer countries such as Ethiopia, Malawi and Senegal”; and at the then rate of 50.7% reduction it would take Malawi 74 years to eradicate acute poverty.

In 2012 the results of the Third Integrated Household Survey (IHS3), showed that almost half of the Malawi’s population is poor, about one in every four poor lives in dire poverty and cannot afford to meet the minimum standard for daily recommended food requirement.

1 B ExtraAlready in January, the Rural Basic Needs Basket indicated that the average daily calorie intake for rural areas of Chikwawa, Dedza, Zomba and Lilongwe was at an average of 1169kcal; which is 1231kcal below the daily recommended calorie intake of 2400kcal by WHO and the situation was worse in Kasiya-Lilongwe, which stood at 970kcal per person per day. For the Urban Basic Needs Basket, the average cost just for the basic food items stood at MK77, 320 for Blantyre Lilongwe, Zomba, Mzuzu, Karonga and Mangochi; the highest was in Zomba at MK86, 783.

What this entails is that there are indications that many people in the country cannot afford a dignified life and others are trapped in dire poverty. So instead of denying these facts the country needs to wake up and do something about this dire situation. Instead of being angry at these reports the country needs to be angry enough to do something about it, so that it would no longer be defined as such in the near future.

Let us start with the current disaster in the lower Shire. Each year flood disasters occur in this region. There is need for proper planning and political will to manage it. It must be remembered that disaster risk reduction benefits the poor more than disaster management does. Many research reports in countries like India have shown that for every dollar invested in disaster risk reduction, between two and four dollars are returned in terms of avoided or reduced disaster impact costs. The country needs to increase investment in disaster risk management and climate change mitigation measures, such as canalization, winter cropping and IGA interventions as an effective ways to reduce the disaster vulnerability of the poor and thereby improve overall economic development. Invest in social services that improve social conditions, such as universal education, health, access to water and sanitation, thereby reducing the vulnerability of the poor and improving their capacity to respond to, cope with and adapt to disaster and poverty impacts more effectively. Surprisingly or not, those who were angry with the report were not the poor too busy to survive, but rather those who somehow work towards the eradication of poverty. Should they not also need to ask the question whether the Gross Domestic Product is divided among all Malawians with some degree of equity?

Loyola Jesuit Secondary School, Kasungu, Malawi


Peter Henriot 04.pngMany Christmas blessings of peace, joy, hope, all through 2015, for the good M.Afr people. Attached shows our progress and hopes in Kasungu – prayers please!

Peace of Christ. Fr. Peter Henriot

See previous report on SAP Blog: Loyola Jesuit Secondary School, Kasungu, Malawi

Campus of Loyola Kasungu 2014 AView of campus of Loyola Jesuit Secondary School, Kasungu Malawi. Photo taken from grounds of nearby St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 28th October 2014

Campus of Loyola Kasungu 2014 02bChildren from nearby St. Joseph’s Primary School visit a finished classroom at Loyola Jesuit Secondary School to try out the new desks and chairs. You can tell by facial expressions their dreams that one day they might sit in this classroom as regular students!