The concept of ‘I’ and ‘We’ in describing inclusivity or lack of, is as complex as we may want to define life. However, it can still be dissected and applied appropriately if we care to take time and look within ourselves, the ‘I’. All has to start from a source and the ‘I’ is a powerful source for we are what we are by our own view of self and the world around us. Though people may agree perhaps in cases to disagree, no two people’s view on any object or issue is similar in all its entirety as there will still be shades where one notices that the other does not.
Arguably, to have a strong ‘We’ you need stronger ‘Is’ or at least the sum of them that is greater. It therefore as stated above starts from the ‘I’ no matter how we want to look at it. Simple identification of the ‘I’ is the individual, you. While the ‘We’ could be the community, society or the family or indeed any group of more than one person. Simple question, how do we make the ‘We’ stronger can be answered by stating. ‘make the Is’ stronger. This is the very simple surface analogy we can attempt to present here. For within the ‘I’ for instance we may again need to further investigate what it is. Whether we mean ‘I’ the person as the physical body or the inner man (soul) as some will say. What can not be disputed is that we need stronger mind (another name for soul) to be strong in anything.
Just like the physical body needs food, care and exercise. The soul (mind) needs nourishment as in feeding it, exercising it to be stronger and taking good care of it. Education systems in this case play a very crucial part to development of human beings inner part relative to their environment. I have elected to talk extensively about education systems in a separate write-up soon. But how does one feed their mind, how do we exercise it, how do we take care of it?
The quotes this week are extracted from the book that one collaborator writing on its back cover stated that it is a powerful and moving book. Having featured the book twice on this column in immediate previous write-ups of this series, this is the last extraction from it this time around. I am sure that the selected quotations below from this book will enlighten you to one or two life lessons, read and enjoy:
“It seemed that a terrible cloud had fallen on me. I could not imagine my life without Orton. I loved him so much and he cared for me. The father of my children, who taught me everything and encouraged me to become a politician, was dead. I started to talk like a mad woman.”
“I could not sleep in a bed. I was staying with my sister, Chris, and we were sleeping side by side the first night after my release, but I felt seasick and dizzy moving around on the soft mattress. After some time I had to climb down and lie on the floor, where I was used to sleeping, Chris woke up. —– ‘What on earth are you doing sleeping on the floor, Vera?’ —- ‘I can’t sleep on a bed anymore, Chris’, I explained, ‘I feel like falling down all the time.'”
“When he opened the door, the guards were over him. A fat man, whom we knew very well from the League of Malawi Youth and who was now leader of the Young Pioneers, hit Orton very hard. He fell to the ground and they started kicking him. Hewings tried to stop them, but they were too many. Orton looked up from the floor and saw Dr Banda peeping through the door. He heard him laugh. Then Kadzamira came: ‘Stop it! You are killing Chirwa!’ She yelled, He is the one who made you what you are. Stop!’ —— And they stopped. Orton was forever grateful to Kadzamira after that. Every time someone complained about her, he defended her: —- ‘That woman saved my life’, he always said. —- Hewings managed to get hold of him, carried him to the car and drove back to the Governor’s house.”
“By the end of his second term in 2004 the economy had declined. Inflation was running wild and ordinary people experienced an unrelenting struggle to survive on their few, hard-earned Kwacha. Food prices had increased and basic living conditions for the majority had undoubtedly deteriorated under the multi-party democracy. Dr Banda had a strong commitment to food security and people did not starve. In contrast, Malawi was tagged on the international map as famine-prone for the first time ever in 2002. For the poor, freedom of expression cannot outweigh the increased hardships of everyday life, and I understand that it is difficult to appreciate a democracy that leaves you hungrier and more frightened than the dictatorship it was supposed to rectify.”
“A President’s conduct is a key aspect of any political culture. President Muluzi administered his concern for our people very unconstructively and he took the practice of handing out small amounts of money to its limit. Wherever he went with his entourage, he dished out cash. An important person in African culture – a big man, as we call him – generates his following and establishes his status by supporting his dependants. It is part of our culture to expect a gift from a visiting President, but Muluzi’s handouts threatened to become the primary element of Malawi’s distributive politics. This is not the right approach in a modern democracy.”