We have heard a lot of positive stories about Mangoni. It is not about making merry as beer is imbibed alongside tsabolaed pork and other haram meats. It is about chiefs ending teenage marriages and sending the over-libidinous girls and boys back to schools.
Of late, Mangoni has distinguished itself for its uMunthu. Last year, or the year before, a family driving from Lilongwe to attend a funeral in Blantyre was involved in a serious road accident. The car overturned three times or more near Lizulu. The father, and traditional head of the family, who was driving the car, escaped with minor injuries. The son, their dear son, died on the spot. The wife, and traditional deputy commander in chief of the family, was trapped in the car. The front passenger door could not open.
The people from surrounding villages, who traditionally flock to accident spots, were there in the deep of the night. They collected everything that had fallen out of the car—laptops, books, money, mobile phones, clothing, shoes, and put it together. Some brought heavy duty axes, chisels, hammers, and other weapons of car destruction that panel beaters use to destroy and later straighten damaged vehicles.
They chiseled out the passenger door and took out the bleeding lady. They took her, the head of the family and the dead son to the roadside. From there they were taken to Dedza District Hospital and later referred to Kamuzu Central Hospital.
The husband and wife are still alive although they lost their son. The wife is wheel-chaired but had the people of Mangoni not done what they did, maybe she could not have been alive today.
To the surprise of many all the personal items the family had were given back to them. The people that were involved in this act of uMunthu cannot be traced. But their act that night saved the lives of two people.
When we heard this story last year or two years ago, we thought that Mangoni community must have been an outlier. But this year, this very month, a bus overturned near Bilira in Mangoni. Again, the people from surrounding villages flocked to the accident scene, pulled out from the buses those passengers that could not get out on their own. Since the bus had plunged into a ditch, the villagers cut poles and made a ladder to take the injured up to the roadside.
Despite calls to the nearby police, no help was forthcoming. The people did not tire making calls until a Good Samaritan driving from Salima came to the scene. He was carrying goods in his pickup truck. All the goods were offloaded and the Good Samaritan ferried the injured to hospitals at Bilira and Ntcheu.
Like what happened at Lizulu, the Mangonians of Bilira collected all items and gave them back to the passengers of the ill-fated bus. They guarded the Good Samaritan’s good until he came back to collect all his goods.
The only person the Bilirians failed to pull out was the driver because by the time they realised he could not be counted among the rescued, he had already died.
The people that were involved in this act of uMunthu cannot be traced. But their act that night saved the lives of many people despite some having been severely injured and the driver having died.
Contrast this with what happens in other areas. Instead of saving lives, the locals in these other areas rush to pick out money, laptops, mobile phones, and other items from car involved in accidents.
Probably, the worst incident happened in Salima when a DPP regional governor was involved in car accident. Instead of assisting him, the people around were busy taking whatsapp videos as the DPP governor bled to death.
Thank you Mangoni for leading the way. Thank you for uMunthu.