Mulanje Mountain is a national treasure and there is a need for Unesco to consider listing it as a heritage site, one of the members representing musician Lawi, Emmanuel Maliro, said on Friday.
Maliro said this during a press briefing at Mulanje Golf Club ahead of the Voice of the Mountain hike set for August 27 to 29 to the highest peak on Mulanje Mountain – Sapitwa.
Maliro said Mulanje Mountain is special to Malawians and that it holds a lot of unique species only found in Malawi and that many of them are going into extinction, hence Unesco should list it as a heritage site.
“Most of these unique species are under threat because of bush fires etc. We have Mulanje Cedar, which is a special tree, but it is phasing out.
“People who are doing this are the rich, those who have money and people with connections. So, we want to go on this hike to go on top with messages, warning people but also sending a message to Unesco to consider listing Mulanje Mountain as a heritage site,” Maliro said.
He said they were aware that the government was in the process of submitting this to Unesco, but through their initiative, they want to add a voice.
“The hike is just one of the activities we are targeting but we are looking into more initiatives including engaging companies and other stakeholders to buy plots on Mulanje Mountain and plant trees and, in so doing, offer employment to the locals,” Maliro said.
He said Lawi, who is based in South Africa, was happy to bring awareness about Mulanje Mountain and that he was happy to be the ambassador, having signed an agreement with Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust (MMCT).
“MMCT has tried but their voice is limited hence engaging Lawi, who is popular and his voice is louder,” Maliro said.
MMCT’s Kondwani Chamwala said Lawi has talent to speak out for nature, observing that most artists need quite environments to generate music.
“There is a touch of nature in Lawi’s music and music is driven by nature. This is why we linked up with Lawi to help us raise awareness about Mulanje Mountain and speak on behalf of the mountain itself and, by doing so, people will appreciate what the mountain is all about,” Chamwala said.
He said the presence of Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture Michael Usi during the hike will energise participants.
Mervis Maigwa of Travel with Mervis, who is the Team Organiser for the hike, said the hike is targeting 50 people.
“The fee is K100,000 to cater for a number of things including accommodation, food and transport and there will also be a mini concert. It’s not an easy hike but it’s doable and we wish it could be for everyone but, because of Covid, it’s not possible,” Maigwa said.
Other hikers – Yangairo Yangairo from Paulendo Adventures and Austin Mndolo, who is Team Leader for Hikers Alliance—said people need to have a story to tell and that they are well equipped to take people to Sapitwa.
Lawi said yesterday his work as the official ambassador for Mulanje Mountain already started.
“It is a challenging journey because there is a lot to be done and we need concerted efforts in restoring Mulanje Mountain quickly and for the hike, we are ready,” he said.