In case you are wondering what I have been reading lately, I am reading Mufunanji Magalasi’s book, Stage Drama in Independent Malawi: 1980 to 2002. In case you want to know what sections of the book make me think. Then this should be page 104.
Talking about Steve Chimombo, Magalasi writes: “He also featured in Mbalame, a film by David Kerr in 1971, featuring Chris Kamlongera as Sikusinja, Peter Nkosi and Gwenembe, Beatrice Masuku as Gwenembe’s girlfriend, James Ng’ombe and Chimombo as members of the village that Sikusinja and Gwenembe came from.”
You could be forgiven if you do not see the interesting issues that I see in the paragraph that I have just presented above. The person referred to as Chris Kamlongera in 1971 is Professor Christopher Kamlongera who has served as a high commissioner representing Malawi in foreign nations and lately as principal of Chancellor College. In 1971, he was on stage starring in films and acting in theatre.
Let me move on to Peter Nkosi. Nkosi was a science student at Chancellor College. Studying physics and chemistry, he acted in films and on stage in 1971. For those of you who know Nkosi now, think and imagine him at Chancellor College in 1970. Nkosi has changed but his literary and theatrical mind continues. What a man I have been privileged to know?
Let me move to James Ng’ombe. Dr Ng’ombe of Jhango Publications, former director of Malawi Institute of Journalism, former chairperson of the Board of Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma), my mentor and author extraordinaire. In 1971, James was a young Chanco man on stage, enjoying life and acting on stage. Now, Dr Ng’ombe is a grandfather of at least three children, enjoying life in semi-retirement.
I am left in awe when I meet Dr Ng’ombe and realise that as he acted on stage or in the David Kerr film in 1971, my mother was attending antenatal care as I wriggled in her womb. I am left to imagine what it was like at Chanco with Peter Nkosi, Chris Kamlongera and James Ng’ombe?
Having reported on things I like, let me spend some time on things I don’t like writing about. These things include the media blitz on drug shortages in our hospitals and the shortage of health workers in the health system. I have heard and read over and over again that Malawi has only one doctor who is able to treat cancers. This is a million times not accurate.
The country has one oncologist, Dr Leo Masamba, my friend and an individual I admire. I call Leo once in a while to seek guidance and ask for legitimate favours. I respect the man. But for anyone to propose that only one doctor in this country can treat cancers suggests that we, as a country, do not know what cancer is and how it is treated. I doubt Leo likes what we say when we say that he is the only one who can treat cancer. Cancer can be cut off- and the surgeons do that often.