Monday, December 26, 2011

Remembering Siku's Bangwe Fiasco in March 2009!

One of Zachimalawi's followers wrote the following, in response to an article that appeared here. He wrote Zachimalawi on September 1, 2009.

Here it went:

In defense of Siku owners

By Owen Linganani

Wednesday, July 6, 2009: A man drives to Blantyre’s Bangwe Township and is mobbed by residents for having three dead chickens on him. Within hours, talk is common around town- not only about the man, but the company vehicle he was allegedly using.

From nowhere, the word Siku becomes synonymous with dead chickens in Bangwe. The way the issue has been blown out of proportion smacks of something more than meets the eye. There has to be some invisible hand from somewhere, possibly people who would love Siku, and some of its directors’ reputation, thrown in the mud.

It serves, sadly once again, as a reminder of how as a nation we are so much affiliated to jealousy and its ugly machinations. No wonder our wonderful National Anthem throws a chord over the issue of jealousy.

The truth of the matter is that there is no fuss around the issue of rituals. Rituals are as old as life itself, practiced all over the world. It has always been an integral part of the history and cultural heritage of many people around the world. In Latin America, Asia, Africa, Europe and elsewhere, rituals are common place.

In Southeast Asia, for example- with its heavy seasonal rains, the diversity of flora and the abundance of metal ores, agricultural communities have had their rituals since the 4th Millennium BC.

Archaeological and cultural records from Java, known for its favourite geological conditions, have proved beyond reasonable doubt that rituals, religious and cultural beliefs sustained the people there, and gave them some common heritage. Not only in Asia has this happened, elsewhere, too.

Abundant archaeological and cultural evidence from as many as six continents indicates, clearly, that what has come to be known as modern life is merely a combination of immerging trends and our ritualistic past- a past so full of invaluable traits and life colours. This overwhelming evidence, whose force of truth became more powerful in the Late Pleistocene period, and mainly from sites in limestone mountains. Among the best known are Than Khuong and Nguom in Northern Vietnam, Lang rongrien in Thailand, Leang Burung in Celebes, Tabon Curve in the island of Palawan in the Philippines, as well as in neighboring Zambia and Mozambique.

This was of life reached its peak in the 6th millennium BC, with changes in the tool kit from Flake tools to pebble choppers. This was called the HOabinhian tradition, called after the region in North Vietnam where rituals were common place.

This only affirms that rituals remain an integral part of society, even as Neolithic and African people begun to pave way for complex societies and cultures some 6000 years ago.

Dr. David Livingstone himself wrote in one of his letter to Scotland, how the Mang’anja people in Malawi would perform long, arduous rituals on end at the death of one of their own- a trend whose picture got more magnified during the death of traditional leaders. But this was just a part of the larger picture.

When the rains failed, their were specific rituals performed, something continued today by traditionalist like Fred Kwacha.

The Ngoni, Tumbuka, Yao, Lomwe, among other tribes in Malawi, have their own rituals embedded like born marrow in their existence.

It is thus myopic to prism a simple act done to fulfill a dignified ritual as an atrocious act- simply because, as people would love us believe, it was performed by one of the best-performing citizens of this country.

The incident has nothing to do with Siku. It is something to do with an individual and his beliefs. That is not prohibited under Malawi laws. It is part of our heritage as a common society with one purpose in mind: to develop our beautiful nation.

It is wrong to put BM 5754 or Siku Car Hire Manager Omar Ali- even James Mdogo- into this distorted picture of accidents. The two are not related at all.

Let us, as Malawians, respect traditions of fellow citizens and not take advantage of that to tarnish their image. That way, tourists will be able to even come just to appreciate some of our cultural beliefs.

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