Professor Dr Joyce Befu, Alhajj Mufti Jean-Phiippe LePoisson, SC (RTD), Nganga Maigwagwa, PSC (RTD) and I, Malawi’s only Mohashoi, are still in Salima. We came here last week, unannounced, to enjoy the mpasa fish grilled on hot charcoal from Thuma forest. We particularly like one restaurant at Kamuzu Road Turn Off that serves fried rice with grilled mpasa, moringa and, rarely, broccoli-laced okra as a vegetable.
Salimians know that the best and most nutritious foods are local and traditional. Pumpkin, cassava, potato, and black jack leaves are the best for any generation, race, gender and health condition a person is in. Take them regularly this week and let us know next week.
Salima is hot in many senses. It is thermally hot here. The temperatures here are usually very high, many times above 30 degrees Celsius, but Salimians do not mind. To beat the searing heat, men remove their shirts, perch them on their shoulders and walk bare-chested, revealing the little dark forests lining their breast areas to the navel and down to the main source of life. Sitting in the shade is not an option in Salima but an obligation. If you are along the lake, spending afternoon hours in the lake waters gives unparalleled relief.
Salima is politically hot and those who cared and participated in the Thursday street demonstrations will agree with our assessment. Citizens here have embraced active citizenship and are proving that demonstrations are no longer the preserve of city and urban Malawians. Even nyau came out in full force to protest.
Today Salimians speak freely about their political choices. They believe that the 2019 presidential election was stolen. From whom exactly the election was stolen, Salimians are not sure. But presidential candidates Lazarus Chakwera and Saulos Chilima are mentioned as the victims. A few argue that the biggest victim is Atupele Muluzi whose Yaoland votes were allegedly swapped with those of another candidate. They say if a rerun is organised at all, Chakwera and Chalima should run as president and vice president, respectively because their agenda for Malawi is similar.
Whether that is possible in a country where every leader thinks he or she is the best is food for another discussion another day soon, Inshallah.
Even in entertainment terms, Salima is hot. The darker it gets in the night, the hotter it becomes entertainment wise. That is what we experienced last Thursday night.
We went and joined Salimians in one of the pubs at Kamuzu Road. We sat down to drink our usual fantakoko. We were busy talking about political banalities, when two gaily dressed female Salimians joined us.
“I saw you at the demonstrations,” said one of the ladies.
“Me?” Jean-Philippe protested.
“Yes, you!” the lady insisted.
“We now know that even foreign governments want things to change in Malawi,” said the second lady. “The culture of stealing elections should stop. This time we will keep protesting until the winner of the election is known! Only active citizenship activities like the current peaceful demonstrations will perfect our democracy. Whatever the courts say, the election managers and their political sponsors will no longer take Malawian voters for granted.”
“Good position but can I just let you know that I am not a representative of any government?” Jean-Philippe said, adding “I am now a Malawian of French origin and these are my family members. One of us retired back at Chikoko Village!”
“Chikoko Village! Please don’t make me laugh,” the first lady laughed, “you mean chikoko bay lodge?”
“No,” Nganga said correcting the first lady, “Chikoko village is located along the lake at Monkey Bay.”
“But we want someone to retire to Chikoko Bay lodge!” the first lady said, laughing.