In those days you had patriarch for every area of life. You name it, in football we had figureheads at all levels, in politics we had them strongmen at all levels, funeral services you again had iconic figures at all levels, wedding ceremonies there were men who needed counting before any such agreements were made. In schools it was the same story at various levels and one would point to businesses, civil services, even in music. I am imagining this thinking about my country of origin Malawi where some may say the coming in of ‘democracy’ has had eroded all the patriarchy forms in society.
In football you spoke of the Khamisa’s, Lemani, akule and Kumichongwe at the highest level and at player level the Kinnah Phiri, Frank Sinalo just to mention few. Name these people and ones head would be filled with flowery football exploits and perhaps lifting of a trophy. Concurrently, I need someone to come up with more than five names of football patriarch in modern times.
Politics was never short of names as we had John Tembo, Edson Deleza’s, John Msonthi at the highest level them on the lower spectrum not mentioning the middle, people like mayi Manjankhosi, Mayi Dinala the Dzole Mwales and some local area youth league figures most popular for being diligent on asking the public for exhibition of their party membership cards in most cases getting them to buy a new one if the one shown was soiled a bit. Others may say we have a brand of new political icons but one would argue that they are not true keepers.
Funeral services you could not mention the words without thinking of the Chanaches at the higher level and at the lower level every area had people who were known to be good at mobilising people, organising programs and arranging memorable moon-lighting experiences for the bereaved not mentioning the high pitched singers who would do their work to make a funeral a funeral. I remember in Neno where my mom’s father lived there was one person called ‘Batani’ (Button) who was the chief taster of food at funerals and other occasions. No food would be partaken without the approval of Batani. The guy was important therefore would be summoned at every funeral and other celebrations with people keeping him watch and well informed of every development in the kitchen or wherever place the cooking took place. However, he developed this habit of disappearing from the scene nearer to the cooked food being completed ready to be served, whereupon a band of men would be sent to look all over for him as people would be waiting anxiously for the meal that was ready but not yet approved by the chief taster for consumption. I was told that if anyone were to eat the food without his approval, then they would be summoned for hefty fines to the chief’s court not mentioning the superstitional bad omen associated with defying such an orderly arrangement.
The other areas had their own patriarch for example in music such people as Morris Phuka, Daniel Kachamba. Wedding ceremonies the Matupa’s were the patriarch. Civil servants you had names that when they were mentioned in a news broadcast you knew whatever followed was very important news. We will revisit these areas in a later write-up.
The quotes for this week comes from a book that I started reading in the week. Because of its creativity I could not put the book down once I started reading. Its rich stories though fictitious, made the scenery much present and alive, it makes the characters in it lifelike so much easily empathetical. I am sure that you will learn one or two things from these selected quotes from the book that should make you want to get a copy available for sale on Amazon. Read the quotations below and enjoy:
“Chunga walked closer to the body. He knelt and started studying it. He put his hoe and machete down and reached for the pulse on the wrist of the body. After a while, he looked at Nachisale and whispered: ‘I think he is alive.’ —————– He pulled the body from the water and dragged it so that it lay on the path. Nachisale felt faint. If people happened to come upon them, they would be caught and be punished for practising witchcraft. It was too early in the morning to be found with a lifeless body close to a graveyard.”
“Even if they were to get hold of Simoni Mjikho, no one would have had the nerve to tell him that his bike was required for an emergency. People like Simoni Mjikho lived in a world of their own and did not mind about other people’s business. Simoni Mjikho was the only person that the villagers addressed by both his names. ———— Back at the Chief’s courtyard, there was a hushed silence as another messenger arrived with a message that overrode Nachisale’s initial communication.”
“Reverend Mateyu did not want to stay up all night listening to long stories. Although he knew he could have saved everyone the trouble by finding out about the visitor, he decided to follow protocol and refer the matter to the chief. It was going to be a long night for the Reverend. He never liked offering his home as a sanctuary for stray people. He had his own private affairs which he did not want people to know about. ——– Gossip in Ndonda was an art on its own level. He was better off living by himself. His position in society though, demanded that he should be as pious as possible, therefore he cast aside his feelings for the time being and accepted the situation.”