That’s the motto of the elaborate and most pleasant Chatunda Lodge ( The lodge is in Mzuzu, a city in the lush mountainous Northern Region of Malawi, some 340 Kilometers away from Lilongwe. The lodge is the design concept of Engineer Mwiza Anderson Mtwali, who along with his wife, and over a period of some five years, painstakingly built the lodge into a magnificent homely edifice characterized by it is green roofs and white exterior.

So homely it is that they can keep a colony of free roaming inquisitive rabbits on their grounds. They don’t scare, but look at you keenly as they nibble the abundant greenery.

I spent some five days at the lodge, each evening dining on Chambo, a unique tilapia species fished from Lake Malawi after which I would swish down tots of JD (Jack Daniels) and Soda Water, as I listened to the DJ play wonderful renditions of Lawi’s `Amaona Kuchedwa’ (Take time. Don’t do anything in a hurry) and Skeffa Chimoto’s Lengereni Mtima (God have mercy). Promise, a step daughter of the Manageress Mrs. Mtwali, helps me while the evening as I get to meet a few of my country folk who work in Mzuzu, and friends from the neighbouring Tanzania. All this is happening within the thoughtful gaze of a Malawian Catholic priest who once worked in Kibera, an expansive slum in Nairobi, Kenya.

Wonderful people, these Malawians are. Real friendly and caring.

But what am I doing in Mzuzu?

Well, a consultancy of sorts. You see, I am here courtesy of an invitation extended to me by the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) of Malawi. I have come as an external international expert to join a team of peer reviewers to inspect and accredit Mzuzu University (MZUNI). Mathildah, the founding CEO had wanted me to come last year. Time did not permit. Instead, I called upon my dentist friend, Walter, to go to Malawi in my place. This year I could not resist. I had to come meet old buddies such as Alick, whom I met way back in 1993. I have visited this great country that explorer and missionary Dr. David Livingston named `Nyasaland’, after Lake Nyasa that traverses from north to south (incidentally, Tanzania and Malawi are currently in the midst of a legal tussle at the international court over ownership of parts of the lake, now known as Lake Malawi).

Among the inhabitants of the Northern Region are the Ngoni people who are scattered in parts of Tanzania all the way down past Zimbabwe into southern Africa. The Ngoni are Bantu in origin and migrated from southern Africa. They did not migrate willingly but fled the military foray of the mighty Zulu King, Shaka. Shaka had come to power through warfare strategy and had unleashed Mfecane, a period of political disruption and population migration in Southern Africa which occurred during the 1820s and 1830s. It is because of this upheaval that made Zwangendaba, ruler of the Ngoni, to lead his people northeast to find an alternative home. Shaka’s cruelty reached its peak when he lost his mother, Nandi, and put the population through a prolonged torturous period of mourning. Those who refused to openly mourn over his mother’s death were killed. To fully appreciate Mfecane, you need to watch the epic film `Shaka Zulu’ ( directed by Joshua Sinclair and that stars the late South Africa actor, Henry Cele, whose portrayal of Shaka is extraordinarily powerful.

Within Mzuzu resides a great man of letters, Ambassador Professor David Rubadiri who once taught literature at the University of Nairobi along with novelist Ngugi wa Thiong’o and playwright late John Ruganda. Sadly, I am not able to meet Prof.

Malawi holds a special place in my heart.    I discovered Malawi in the early 70s when as a young student in lower secondary school I chanced to read a book by the late Legson Kayira titled `I Will Try  Goodreads records that in 1958, inspired by the life of Abraham Lincoln and the motto of his secondary school, a 16-year-old Malawian village boy, decided to travel on foot to America to further his education. Walking barefoot and carrying food, an axe and two books, he travelled more than 2,500 miles through the African bush crossing four countries in search of an education. Most people would have given up, but not Legson. Braving lions, hyenas, snakes, elephants and language differences, he kept going reaching Khartoum in the Sudan, where American consular officials, amazed by his remarkable walk, helped him to travel to the United States to take up a scholarship at Skagit Valley College in Washington State. What an inspiration for a young curious mind!

My late mentor and friend, Prof. Thomas Risely Odhiambo enabled me visit Malawi in 1993. I went there with a team of eminent academicians to negotiate for Malawi’s acceptance to join and host the African Foundation for Research and Development. That’s when I met Alick. Through Odhiambo, I was able to meet President Bakili Muluzi and late President Bingu wa Mutharika (my 1995 encounter with Bingu at the Sheraton, Kampala is a hilarious story I must tell one of these days!). I have since visited this great country severally, more recently during the dissemination of research finding by the Health Research Capacity Strengthening (HRCS) Programme that was led by Mathildah.

My bags are packed and am headed to Kamuzu International Airport. But tarry. I must pay respect to the founder of this great nation, the late Ngwazi (Conqueror) Kamuzu Banda. We stop by his Mausoleum, adjacent to the Parliament buildings that were constructed by the Chinese. I am informed that the flywhisk held Kamuzu as seen in from the massive portrait above his place of internment, was presented to him by the Founding Father of Kenya, the late President Jomo Kenyatta. The two had been in Great Britain before heading to their respective countries to lead in the fight for independence.

What a rich history and what a week! Long live Malawi!

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