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afrika aphukira

Midwiving the Afrikan rebirth. . . Views of Afrika and the world, on the path to the renaissance, from a social justice and an Afrikan epistemological perspective--uMunthu. Includes specific commentary on Malawi and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Updated: 2018-03-13T08:08:42.471-04:00


Why (Most) Malawian Leaders Don’t Write Books: A Tribute to Sam Mpasu


When American journalist Thomas De Frank published a biography of late US president Gerald R Ford in 2007, he titled it Write It When I’m Gone. The book came out less than one year following Ford’s death in December 2006. As the title intimates, Ford had instructed De Frank not to publish any of the details from their numerous conversations, over many years, until Ford had passed on.

What drives Malawian teachers: Thoughts on World Teachers Day 2017


In mid-September, some three weeks ago, I was home in Ntcheu for ziliza (unveiling tombstones for departed relations). I used the occasion to stop by Chikande Primary School, where I started my teaching career. I taught there from January 1990 to July 1993.  I entered the first classroom I taught in, which was Standard 2 at the time but is now Standard 3. It was unlocked, and I saw that it

Thoughts on Malawi at 53: History, Education and Human Dignity


I would like to preface the thoughts below by offering my deepest condolences to the families of the Malawians, many of them reported to be children, who were killed in the stampede at the Bingu National Stadium today on 6th July. I convey warm thoughts to the injured and extend hope that they will get better soon. My effort today is an attempt at crystalizing disparate thoughts that I

Chilembwe’s continuing struggle for African dignity


On the afternoon of Tuesday 8th November 2016, I took my History of Education first year class at the Catholic University of Malawi to Providence Industrial Mission (PIM). We had read about John Chilembwe as one of Malawi’s early pioneers in modern education, in Kelvin Banda’s 1982 book A Brief History of Education in Malawi. Being no more than 10 kilometres away from campus, we decided it was

Malawi’s public education system: from planning to implementing


If Malawi truly wanted to improve the quality of public education, three questions would need to provide guidance. Which local, endogenous wisdom would we draw from? Which countries’ models would we want to learn from? And, how would we want the learning to look like? Although there are no easy answers to these questions, there are good reasons to pursue them. Drawing from local,

Literacy, Language and Power: Thoughts on International Literacy Day 2016


It warms my heart that today, 8th September 2016, Malawi is celebrating the International Literacy Day on its designated day. More often than not, we are jolted into action after seeing what other parts of the world are doing on the day, and then we go “Ah! So today is International Literacy Day? Let us choose a day to commemorate it.” So we end up doing the commemoration in the latter part of

Ascent into the Ages: Mikelle Antoine, In Memoriam


On Sunday 22nd November, Facebook reminded me of a picture I had posted six years ago, in 2009. In the picture is Mikelle Antoine, her husband, Nii, their two young children, and myself. The picture was taken on 21st November 2009, on the campus of the University of Ghana at Legon, in Accra. In the background is the Kwame Nkrumah Institute of African Studies. I had just arrived in Accra, to

Empowering teachers: Thoughts on World Teachers’ Day 2015


When he officially opened Malawi’s newest teacher training college, Chiradzulu TTC, on 16th September, Malawi’s president Peter Mutharika said something that if he does not follow up on with action, might shadow his legacy in Malawian education. It is something I have decided not to cynically dismiss as one of those things presidents say and never mean it. Today is 5th October, the day the

Kicking away the JCE ladder


Let me start with a disclaimer. I am not an expert in educational measurement, evaluation and assessment. These are highly specialised areas in educational research dealing with tests and examinations, and Malawi has quite a number of experts in the disciplines. My familiarity lies with curriculum, pedagogy, educational policy and teacher education. So my views in the ensuing discussion pertain

Malawi at Fifty One: The Education Legacies of Malawi's Presidents Hitherto


It is a noteworthy paradox that while the seventy years Malawi was under colonial rule from 1894 to 1964 there was no university, within nine months of independence, Malawi had one (Cuthbert Kachale, 2015). In ensuring that Malawi got a university just months after independence, the founding president of the country, Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda made clear the pioneering role that higher education

Towards Agenda 2063: Pan-Africanist Education and the African Renaissance


The drama of the ICC’s determination to arrest Sudan’s president Omar Al Bashir played itself out exactly three weeks after the commemoration of this year’s Africa Day. That fact epitomises the thorny, rocky road Africa’s renewal will have to go through. Six weeks later, I am still basking in the after-glow of this year’s Africa Day commemorations, which was my first time to actually actively

In the Valley, a Genius Rests: Remembering Raphael Kinn L Tenthani


Today, Tuesday 19th May 2015, Raphael Tenthani was supposed to be landing at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, here in Gaborone, Botswana. He was coming to attend a stakeholders meeting of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), which is going to run from tomorrow 20th to 21st May at the Gaborone Sun Hotel. I was going to welcome Ralph at the airport, and he was going to bring me

A new national consciousness: Agenda for the next 50 years


We are winding down a year that marked two key milestones in our nation’s autobiography. We marked fifty years of independence, and we also marked twenty years of multiparty democracy and the end of one-party dictatorship. As we embark on another fifty years of national independence and another twenty of multiparty democracy, I want to ask a question: Do we as Malawians have a sense of national

Misdiagnosis: Mother Tongue Policy and Poor English in Malawian Schools


There are good reasons why many Malawians are happy with the new policy for English to be the language of instruction in Malawian public schools. We Malawians use proficiency in spoken English as a product of a good education. If somebody speaks good English, they are seen as being educated. In many cases that is quite true. The more years one spends in Malawian schools beyond primary and

Malawi at 50: Song & Dance, Tears & Laughter


These students had fun composing songs and dances improptu In June this year I accompanied a team of educationists visiting a school in the eastern part of Dedza. I observed a Standard 4 Expressive Arts lesson in which students composed and enacted an impromptu song and dance. I would have thought this impossible, but not the students, nor their teacher. It was clear from the

'Accountable to the people': Can President Mutharika be taken at his word?


Malawians lining up to vote on 20th May, 2014 There is one statement in Professor Peter Mutharika’s inaugural speech that will be the ultimate test on which his term of office will be evaluated. Taking over the reins of power at the Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre on 2nd June, the president said: “Today, we are launching a government that must be accountable to the people. The central principle

What the future may hold for Malawi beyond May 20th


The person who wins this week’s election will need to thank Malawians for one thing: our capacity to forgive and give people a second chance. But if the Afrobarometer poll is anything to go by, it will be the weakest mandate a Malawian president has ever had. The Afrobarometer survey showed Peter Mutharika winning by just 27 percent of the vote. If that turns out to be accurate, it will mean

In solidarity with Malawian teachers: Labour Day thoughts


This May Day (or Labour Day as we call it here) my thoughts are with Malawian teachers and their struggles. In particular my thoughts are with those teachers who defy the odds and make a difference in the lives of their students and in their communities. I would like to share a few stories on these teachers. In October 2012 I received a Facebook message from someone who introduced himself

Choosing a president: Intellect, character and Malawi’s leadership


I have lived in the city of Lilongwe for close to three years now, and I have no idea who the MP of my area is. I do not even know the name of my constituency. Whoever is the MP here has never been to this area to talk to us the constituents in the three years I have lived here. If they have, I never heard about it. Now in addition to voting for an MP and a state president on 20th May, I will

In defense of Malawian languages: The case for multilingualism in our schools


Thanks to students majoring in Education at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, the Ministry of Education’s decision for English to be the language of instruction starting from Standard One has become a national debate. I would like to congratulate the students for their active participation in a matter of national significance. The significance of this issue goes beyond the

Angry teachers: class and contempt in Malawian society


One September morning in 2013 I was walking into my office building in Lilongwe when I noticed a huge crowd swarming around the notice board. My office is located inside a district education office, and teachers visit on a daily basis. But the young people crowding around the notice board on this day were not teachers.  They were prospective student teachers. They had applied for openings in

'Kudya Nawo': How Cashgate Became a Mindset


A lot of Malawian pundits and commentators have pointed out that cashgate symbolises a larger malaise affecting Malawian society. To these commentators, cashgate happened because we are a “rotten” society ruled by corrupt leaders; because we have lost our moral compass as a nation. If this is true, does it not then follow that many of us, to some extent, have what we can term a “cashgate

What happened to creative writing in Malawi?


The Nation newspaper has raised the alarm over the quality of creative writing in the country. Judges in several national writing competitions have pointed out the quality of entries is very poor it is clear something has happened to creative writing in Malawi. In order to find a more satisfactory answer to the question as to what has happened to Malawian creative writing, it would be a good

Reclaiming the Youth Space: The Next Agenda for Young Malawians


Keynote address given at the Youth Consultative Forum's National Consultative Meeting and Annual General Meeting 6 February, 2014, Crown Hotel, Lilongwe Youth Consultative Forum annual general meeting6 Feb 2014, Crown Hotel, Lilongwe It is interestingly fitting that the Youth Consultative Forum is holding its Annual General Meeting exactly one week after Malawi hosted the BBC Africa

What's the matter with Malawian universities?


When a university student performs poorly and is withdrawn, the problem is with the student. But when 132 students perform poorly and are withdrawn, then the problem is no longer with the student alone. The university itself has a problem. When it is two universities, then it is not just the universities that have a problem, it is the broader national educational system. It is instructive to