Just another folktale


IT is a wonderful time here in the Warm Heart of Africa, Malawi. It is a moment when we are still reflecting on the journey of our hard won freedom. Yeah, there are still some who are hopeless. There are still some who are prophets of doom. There are still some artists who are sitting on a gold mine and yet are starving.


I am reminded that this column is about arts and culture. Yeah. Countryfolks. I do tackle the people’s total way of life on this column and I cannot avoid issues that affect people.


People are talking. People have questions. More questions than answers. Some of our artists are still trying to make ends meet. Yeah countryfolks, artists struggle just like everybody else to bring food on the table. Yeah, it is survival of the fittest. Moreover, artistic products are becoming very competitive on the market where the povo still find it hard to spare a little on what is considered as mere entertainment.

I also know of a lot of lost opportunities which have gone unnoticed. I know of artists who have misused opportunities in the creative industries. I know of some artists who are always drunk and stoned while expected to perform and earn their living. I know of some artists who have stood on top of the anthill and shouted at their paymasters! I know of artists who have cried foul of promoters after the show yet they have been paid fairly. I also know of some artists who get paid in advance for performances that they never bother to participate. Most of the gospel artists fall in this category.

Anyway, this is not the issue for today. I am reminded of a folktale I learnt some decades ago.


The well

Padagokhala! Tilitonse. Once upon a time, long, long time ago there were two villages in a certain land that flowed with milk and honey. These villages shared one well which was located in the valley.

The water from this well was fresh and sweet. Yeah,countryfolks. You heard me right. The villagers were all smiles after drawing water from this well.

One day people from the village on the other side of the valley found the water too muddy. These people from the other village were angry and accused the other villagers.

Conflict erupted. The two villages were at war. There was commotion everywhere. The people from the two villages pointed fingers at each other.

The wise men from both villages pondered on the source of the conflict as tension mounted.

The wise men were summoned to meet under one baobab tree. They discussed all day long without a solution.


As the sun was setting, one of the wise men stated that there was need to set up a trap early in the morning to find out the truth of the matter.

They organised brave warriors from the two villages who set off at dawn for the well. The warriors hid under the thick bush and lay in ambush.

The first Village sent their women folk to draw water. The women found the water clean and set off with joy.

Immediately after the women had left, a bird appeared and stirred the water. The warriors looked at each other in disbelief.

The bird continued to make the water muddy and dirty beyond description.

The warriors watched in disbelief as the bird seemed to enjoy the act.

Then, having been satisfied with its action, it flew back to the tree near the well.

The warriors in excitement did not wait for the second village to send their women folk to draw water. The warriors chanted a war cry!

They had just discovered the one who was the source of all the conflict. Yeah, the enemy of the people was the little bird up in the tree! Mvundula madzi was its name.

Ana inu kaphuleni mbatata! Yapyelera!

Aluta continua…

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