On April 7, 1997, when the then Culture minister Kamangadazi Chambalo said if government were going to do nothing about the Mwangwego Script he was going to be surprised, it was seen as some autocratic rhetoric. Today, government has done nothing, the corporate world has been silent, and the script that was meant to be a unique way of writing Malawian languages has been repudiated, and the sole man who invented it, is the only one keeping it alive.
After 15 years since the teacher of French launched the script, Mwangwego is still determined it will see the light of the day.
â€œI have had my frustrations. A public-owned trust refused to fund the script because they felt it did not fall under their priority areas of health, education and culture among other things. A statutory corporation doubted the invention was Malawian and that view was shared by a government line ministry. But life must go on,â€ said Mwangwego, who completed work on the script 33 years ago.
Letters written to State officials and parliamentarians have yielded no results, and the Chambalo talk seems to be a reality.
â€It is also interesting to note that Andrij Rovenchak of Ukraine and Jason Glavy of the USA co-authored a book titled African Writing Systems of the Modern Age: The Sub-Saharan Region in which Mwangwego Script has been recognised. Very soon, we will be writing Mwangwego Script with a computer when Larissa Leich and Jana Reddemann of Germany finish creating the Mwangwego font,â€ said the creator, and autor of a 130-page book in Mwangwego Script about Malawi society.
That, for him, is reason for celebration: â€œIn 2012, we are celebrating this achievement with nearly 400 unique Malawians. These patriotic Malawians are â€˜Heroes of Malawian Civilisationâ€™. They are heroes because they have learned the script and they are using it.â€