A 90-year-old man, Donald Yaphama Mhango from Mzokoto in the area of Traditional Authority (T/A) Mwankhunikira in Rumphi, is writing a book to preserve Tumbuka culture.
He said he started writing the book three years ago. In the book, Mhango tackles various topics relating to culture, tradition and climate change.
The book has two sections on culture, namely: folktales; Manyani ivi (General Knowledge) and behavioural aspects.
In an interview, Mhango said he writes folktales to convey lessons, besides leisure.
“Among the folk tales, is one about a bird which led a person to a bee hive. He extracted honey from the hive and ate without sharing it with the bird. Worse still he killed the bird,” he says.
Mhango said some people in life ignore or harm those who do them good as illustrated by the person and the bird in the folktale.
In another folktale, Mhango writes about a man who was given ladders to climb a long tree of fruits promising to share the fruits with the people who gave him the ladders when he gets up. Surprisingly, he enjoyed the fruits alone and never threw any to them as he had promised.
“The people on the ground got angry and removed the ladders for him to appreciate their importance,” says the writer.
Further on culture, there is a section manyani ivi (be knowledgeable about it) which mainly deals with the new generation whom Mhango accuses of neglecting their culture knowingly or not and incidentally mixing it with western cultures.
Gogo Mhango, a retired forestry officer and health practitioner, further writes about the importance and care for trees.
He says climate change is a result of cutting down of trees carelessly.
The writer says he participated in the writing of the Tumbuka dictionary which was done at Chancellor College, a constituent College of the University of Malawi, some years back.
Gogo Mhango, who is group village head Yaphama Mhango in the area, says anyone is free to join him in the exercise. n