I am told that as a boy growing up in Goliati Village, Thyolo District, President Peter Mutharika’s favourite pass-time was hunting mice (mbewa) while his peers preferred playing football and dancing Tchopa.
I was, therefore, not surprised when he asked Malawians recently to diversify on food and eat mbewa and ‘zitchetche’ (or was it zitete as some people claim?) to curb the scourge of hunger that has hit the nation. However, what he didn’t anticipate was probably that the jazz would provoke a fierce reaction and that’s what it did.
It became such a big issue that at some point as APM desperately tried to clear the air, he even claimed to have had mbewa as part of his dinner last week. I guess that just proved how important Malawians value food and it appears the jazz about food diversification is gaining memontum as the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) is also in the process of engaging a dietitian for the Flames to, among other things, control the level of food intake by the players.
It sounds quite an interesting development and I can’t wait to see how some of the players will adjust from having five or six pieces (mitanda) of nsima to just three boiled irish potatoes or just a portion of spaghetti or rice and, indeed, zitchetche (yams).
Oh yes, I just can’t wait to see how some of the players will switch from having a phava (bunch) of bananas to just one or two bananas as dessert or having zibwente and cha abambo (long puffs).
That said, on a serious note, it will be interesting to see how the Flames players will adapt to a strict diet to ensure they are in the right physical condition all the time. They have got to move with the times I guess. Uloliwe wayidudula, neng’esiza hah! (oh yes, the train is pushing). Glory be to God.