One of the songs we used to sing in the 1970s as pupils at Chilinde LEA (Local Education Authority) School in Area 21 (Chilinde) in Lilongwe was entitled, “Chule anafera padambo”. One can translate the title as: The frog dieth at the swamp (The frog has died at the swamp). The way the song was sung was that pupils would be divided in two groups. Singing would be done in a see-saw format. One group would sing a line, and the other would respond. First group: Chule anafera padambo (The frog has died at the swamp)
Second group: Bwerani mudzatole (Come and pick it up).
First group: Ife sitidya chule (We do not eat frogs—why would we pick it up when we don’t eat frogs?)
Second group: Nanga mmaneneranji (why then were you telling us that a frog has died at the swamp—what business did you then have with a dead frog?)
First group: Ngati mufuna zankhondo (Do you want us to fight?).
Second group: Bwerani timenyane (Bring it on so that we fight now).
Now this song is interesting in many ways. It helps the pupils to appreciate good music. The author and composer of this song is unknown. Pupils must be sharp to recognise when the opposing team stops singing and when their own group must come in. Further, even though towards the end of the song a fight is being called for, no one really fights. It is just a song. It is for fun. Pupils learn to have fun, to entertain briefly a thought of engaging in a fight and not go all the way to the actual physical fighting. This is what education does to you, doesn’t it? Entertain an idea, but not really believe or live it.
The other day, the President was, what the newspapers refer to as, “visibly angry”. I am an employee of the University of Malawi (Unima) and so I have my limits as to how I describe my Chancellor, the President. But he was angry and I think the university would not argue with me on this point. The Chancellor has ‘holy anger’ within his soul. He is human and perhaps not a saint either. Humans do sometimes have their emotions overcome them. It is enticing to think of the President as one of the gods, Zeus or as an angel who does things according to the will of God. But when it comes to it, President Mutharika is just one of us. He feels hungry just as we do. He feels tired just as we do. He gets sick, just like we do. He may even be sleeping under a mosquito bed net, just like any wise person in Malawi should. He laughs, if he has learnt the value of laughter. He mourns his losses when they occur. But he is not yet St Arturo Petros Mutharika. That is yet to come. He has his strengths and his weaknesses. One hopes his strengths outweigh his weaknesses. Mr President, for me what I do when I feel angry, is that I watch “Phenias and Ferb” on television.