Friday, December 9, 2011

Zomba: The Natural, The Historical, The Beautiful

Nothing feels more natural than being in Zomba, Malawi's former Capital city, first municipality, and colonialist-masters favourite.
For once, there is the natural endowment, the cool breeze that characterise Zomba for most parts of the year, and the crime-free status and more.
That is why tourists, both local and foreign, love to visit Zomba. There, they hop to the famous Chingwe hole on Zomba mountain, the beautiful Lake Chilwa, among others.
Well, the most adventurous even take a boat-ride to Lake Malawi in Mangochi, where they swim in the waters that habour more species of fish than can be found anywhere in the world.
For those who stick to Zomba, wishing to pass their memorable days away in peace, they take to horses' riding at Ku Chawe. There is no need to fear, or shy away from the innocent horses on the basis that 'I have never had a horse-ride before': There are people who will give you a test-ride, otherwise called a guided ride.
It's things like these that make a vist to Zomba a memorable one; one worth taking again, and again, and again, and again.
Well, I had all these experiences recently, when I booked a 'Deluxe' room at Sunbird Ku Chawe for three days on end.
It was a worthwhile trip. The members of staff were friendly, reminiscent of that smile that never departs from the ordinary Malawian's lips.
Whether the weather be cold. Whether it be hot. Even when the days get so hard you 'survive' more than 'live'. The Malawian will always be happy, happy for the Gift of Life.
Now, I remember sitting in the Chingwe Conference Room of SunBird Ku Chawe, and -looking down, upon the world below- I could fathom (though the world could not see me; being, as it were, at that height, a distance so stunningly beautiful you realise the existence of a surpreme being, a being that put all these things together) the trees mingled together in a holy alliance of beauty.
Surely, with the beauty of Zomba the mountain and Zomba the plateau, there is nothing like an 'accident-of-nature' and an 'accident-in-nature'.
This because there is someone who came before accidents, and put all these pieces together.
In Zomba, these pieces are put together to form this natural thing called 'impression'.
This is the impression I got from my four-day stay at Ku Chawe. There, I looked at the lights below, the lights of Zomba City.
A city that will forever remain an integral part of Malawi's history.
Colonialists- that is, the British-left their giant country and came to what was called Nyasaland, the present-day Malawi.They soon fell in love with Zomba and made it the centre of their administration.
On one hand, it is Zomba's European weather they liked; it reminded them of the land they left- in a way abandoned- somewhere beyond the sees.
On the other hand, the friendly people of Zomba made it attractive for them to come (to Zomba) and stay (forever).
But this did not only happen to those who came to Zomba, and came to love it. and came to stay in it, and came to be part of it, and came to commit their future to Zomba and, therefore, Malawi- the land of the Lake of Stars.
Others who went to such districts as Karonga also came to love those parts as well. One of these being former colonial policeman Harold Williams.
Williams came to love Malawi that he made it his adoptive home.
So happy was he with the decision that, tired of the Malawi Congress Party regime, Williams was one of the people who founded the pressure group (later to turn into a political party, and ruling party), The United Democratic Front (UDF).
When the UDF took over the reigns of power in 2004, and lost direction towards 2004- when President Bakili Muluzi wanted to extend his term of office, preferring a Third Term to the Constitutional Two Terms- Williams was there, showing Malawi's leaders that Malawians were fools no more.
Williams was so resilient he was manhandled by overzealous Malawi Police Service officers. But he, kind of, did not give up.
He took the fight to the bitter end.
Until he died during the second half of 2011, living behind a history of someone who came to Malawi, came to love it, and died fighting for the right.
May the Good Soul of Harold Williams Rest In Peace!
I have remembered all this because of Zomba.
Come to Zomba and you will go home refreshed in the mind, and more aware of the Great Designer who lives somewhere above.

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