What you see at the foot is not what you get at the top. This is the story of Ndirande Mountain. Forget the bare rocks you see from afar at the foot of the mountain, as it has vast flat land at the top.
The mountain had a dense natural forest, which has been depleted over the years. Those who have watched To Ndirande Mountain With Love, an early 1980s film by Aubrey Kalitera, would be shocked if they saw the mountain today. They would not even recognise it. No love remains.
What most of us do not know is that Ndirande Mountain is a forest reserve, which means it is protected by law.
A visit to the top of the mountain will show you that there are investment opportunities on it.
The place is ideal for a five-star hotel, housing area, shopping mall, schools and other up-market businesses.
The mountain top of Ndirande is one of the prime pieces of land in Blantyre. It has the city of Blantyre under its feet. The views of Ndirande, Nyambadwe, Michiru, Chileka, Mudi, Machinjiri, Kachere and Mapanga are captivating. A good road network can be constructed there to ease access to the mountain top.
There is already an access road through the mountain top to the radio and telecommunication towers which are at the south-east end of the mountain. Despite this great potential, the place is only being used by farmers from surrounding areas. The soil is so fertile that the land can even be leased to a commercial farmer.
Re-aforestation efforts on the mountain have been made, but they have not borne fruit.
Malawi is losing out a lot on the mountain. It is time to do things differently; take people and their businesses to the mountain top where the hotels, suburbs, schools and businesses will be a pride of Blantyre and indeed Malawi just like Zomba Mountain.
It is time for parliamentarians, councillors, the media and all stakeholders to lobby for using Ndirande Mountain to its full potential. Environmentalists need to partner with the business community and maximise the potential of the mountain.
Government should engage potential investors to explore business opportunities on the mountain and prospective investors should commit themselves to re-afforestation and preservation of the trees in the slopes and gullies and the foot of the mountain.
Zomba Mountain has maintained its natural beauty for years with a hotel, a school, residences and a dam among other structures constructed there! Why not do the same with Ndirande Mountain?
Let us preserve our mountain by doing things differently! n