Some chiefs in Blantyre have complained against use of crude language by Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (Wash) projects and have since called on the projects’ stakeholders to check their verbal communication.
The concerns were raised during a council meeting for Blantyre District recently when the chiefs and other stakeholders were being briefed about Unicef’s K60 million (about $120 000) funding towards the district’s Wash projects.
Senior Chief Kapeni described as unMalawian the increasing tendency by some of the project’s stakeholders to openly discuss issues about human excreta.
“We preserve our dignity by wearing clothes, yet you speak openly about the hidden things.”
“You need to choose your words carefully or else don’t invite us. It is unfortunate that some of these expressions are even on billboards,” said Kapeni.
Traditional Authority Kunthembwe concurred with Kapeni saying traditional leaders struggle to discuss some issues related to Wash projects because of the language used in the discussions.
“We can’t tolerate such language among our people. Munthu samamva chifukwa mwatukwana (You don’t have to use vulgar language for people to understand issues,” he said.
But councillor Jeremiah Jumbe of Soche Ward said local leaders ought to appreciate the changing trends in culture and tradition and how that impacts on communication.
“These are the things our children are learning in school,” said Jumbe.
District environmental officer for the district, Maxwell Mbulaje, who is also a member of the district coordinating team for wash said the projects encourage openness.