Friday, 1 May 2009

No.48 Mr Shonga for President - Malawi Moments Part 3

Day 6 (or thereabouts)

So far we've met loads of Malawians. They all pop up to the house say hello and disappear as quickly as they arrive. There's Janet our house keeper. She's in her 60s and laughs all the time. And I mean all the time. Even when she talked about a bad area of the district where as she put it "They'll have you for your body parts" she laughed. There's Mr Shonga the one eyed house keeper and sometime entrepreneur. There's Zion the young Bob Marley look alike, artist and part-time farmer.

23 December.

We went to Mr Shonga's house for tea. He has two wives and they both served us encima the national food. It is pale white in colour and comes shaped like silicone breast implants. It's made from maize. It's an acquired taste and one day I hope to acquire it.

The following day Mr Shonga took us as guests to visit a village community. This involved an early start and a drive along a very bumpy track once off the main road that soon disappeared into little more than open bush. Three seats were placed in front of a small tree offering some shade and a little comfort to Peter, Debs and I until we waited for the village folk to arrive. After about half and hour they had and Mr Shonga give the welcome address. Other dignatories present were introduced including the Chief, the Assistant Chief, the Chief's advisor and the advisor to the Chief's advisor. Questions were asked and answers were given and the floor reclaimed by Mr Shonga. He duly addressed the ensemble and as the 3 of us peered at him in his suit, mobile at his side he delivered what the occasion required of him and much more besides and for a goodwhile too. He looked every bit the next president of Malawi or at least the man who wants to be.

There's something about the name Mr Shonga that suits him entirely and his persona. I can't help but feel that had he been born in Blackpool 100 years ago George Formby would have had a song out for him on his ukulele. "Oh Mr Shonga...your speech was too longa.."

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