Tomorrow, July 6, we will be celebrating 48 years of independence for our lovely Warm Heart of Africa, Malawi. We all call our country the Warm Heart of Africa but perhaps it is also important to reflect on what that means to us individually and to reflect on how much pride we have in our country. That pride needs to be reflected in our acts of patriotism. Are we able to â€˜dieâ€™ for our country in some small ways?
For me, patriotism means a genuine love and care for Malawi. For me, patriotism means putting country first before personal interests. It means believing that the community or group is bigger than the self. In fact, this belief calls for a spirit that says “I can do things for free for the wider good, not just for personal gratification.” But how many of us and how many times do we do acts of patriotism?
Think about the young men and women who sign up for the military to sign up their personal lives, ready to die while defending our country. I have a brother in the Army and so I know how proud these noble men are to do the job they do – ready to suffer for the sake of us all. They know that their job is very risky and yet they chose, freely, to do it.
But you do not need to be a soldier to be patriotic. I know a uniquely skilled medical practitioner who works for the civil service. He has international repute and is called upon to give service and presentations across the globe but he does not seek to go for greener pastures outside the country or outside the civil service. Recently, I asked him why he never thought of setting up his own private hospital. His answer was very patriotic: “It is very easy for me to set up a private clinic but if I do so, who will save the thousands of lives that cannot pay for private medical services?” And that came with maximum sincerity and genuineness.
You could be a junior immigration officer at Mwanza or Songwe border who says “NO” to a foreigner that wants to bribe you so that you can allow him into our country illegally. You could be a primary school teacher in a rural school who is going the extra mile to give a little hope to kids whose single breakthrough in life lies in getting that rare place at a good national school. You could be a game ranger that is working so hard to protect our animals in the game reserve or national park to help boost our tourism industry. You could be a technocrat that takes a little time from your busy schedule to volunteer for major issues of national interest. You could be a musician or a dramatist that is committed to transforming lives of the youth so that tomorrow, they can make good leaders for our lovely Malawi. Basically, with any talent (and we all have a talent of some sort), you can do acts of patriotism.
As we celebrate 48 years of independence of our country tomorrow [Friday], let us reflect on what acts of charity we have done in the last few years. Let us go further to develop a simple list of the acts of patriotism that we are going to do from TODAY so that in a small way, we can each contribute to the making of a good place to beâ€”Malawi, the Warm Heart of Africa. All the best!