Richard Chipuwa’s ‘magic’ words


Of course, I know that, despite Mighty Be Forward Wanderers shipping – no, it cannot be shipping; after all, they travelled to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to play AS Vita by plane– four goals in their Confederation of African Football (Caf) Champions League preliminary round first-leg game played at Omnisports Stade de Martyrs, goal-minder Richard Chipuwa had a grand game.

For, if Chipuwa had a bad day at the office, the Nomads would have ‘airplaned’ a bucketful of goals. Oh yes. But it seems that Chipuwa ate something— probably chinangwa [cassava] — in the DRC.

Of all things, cassava? Yes! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!


And, then, you may say: Don’t we have cassava in Malawi? Didn’t Ben Mankhamba sing about cassava? Of course he does, when a persona in one of his songs says “Moto! Moto cassava! Mphamvu za chimalawi”.

But, then, the DRC cassava is different! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

To fill you in on this one, the staple food in the DRC is cassava. Cassava is to them what maize is to us. Now, our friends in the DRC have their way of treating the cassava. What they do is to actually ground the tuber into a paste and serve it with plantains, fish or bushmeat. Sometimes— which happens often anyway— grubs and caterpillars are collected to provide proteins. That way, a ‘genuine’ DRC citizen feels like they have had a five-course meal.


Surely, Jesus Muloko— who scored AS Vita’s first goal in the 18th minute— might have been high on cassava served with ‘crickets’ to humble the Nomads in such a manner. Yes, crickets! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Don’t you know that crickets are a delicacy? Ask our friends in Finland, where a company is selling bread made with crushed crickets. Yes, Fazer, a bakery and food service company in Finland, is selling insect loaves which they believe are the first of its kind in the world, according to the Associated Press.

Now, the bread is not everyone’s typical meal because each loaf is made from flour which includes about 70 ground, dry crickets. Now, this bread is rich in protein, a stark contrast to ‘conventional’ bread in the sense that ‘cricket’ bread packs in more protein than typical wheat bread, according to Reuters.

The very crickets we look down upon in Malawi! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

S u r e l y , M u k o k o Batezadio— who compounded the Nomads’ misery by scoring the second goal in the 29th minute— might have been high on cassava-induced energy to be so heartless that he could break the heart of Nomads Super Captain Joseph Kamwendo.

Surely, Jean Marc Makusu [don’t tell me that ‘kachaso’ is called makusu in the DRC. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!] must have been high on something cassava-related to score the third goal against Wanderers in painful fashion. When the Nomads were beginning to believe that they were about to make a comeback, Makusu popped from nowhere to score the third goal in the 42nd minute.

And, probably, Makusu must have taken a double portion of cassava-cassava-cassava-cassava-cassava something to have enough energy in his tanks; energy that helped him put the game beyond the Yasin Osman side when he scored in the 87th minute to make it 4-0.

Well, maybe Wanderers’ players will eat a lot of cassava served with ‘crickets’ to match AS Vita players, in terms of energy capital, when the two teams meet at Bingu National Stadium in the return match, set for next week.

If they want, the Nomads may even ‘mix’ the cassava-based food with food that is common in the DRC. I am talking of nuts, oranges, bananas which are also common in the DRC, where nearly two-thirds of the people live in rural areas, in villages scattered across the country.

The Nomads’ players may even try wild fruits, which are loved by some indigenous peoples in the DRC. I am talking of the ‘pygmy’ Mbuti and Efe groups, who still live a nomadic lifestyle in the forests, hunting wild animals, fishing and gathering plants, fruits and fungi.

And, unlike our Nomads, the nomadic groups in the DRC still wallow in barter— in primary school, at Karonga in Salima, my teachers Madam [as we used to say] Kasiya, Madam Chaponda, Sir [again, as we used to say then] Kaphanthengo, Sir Lazybones [I do not know what that teacher’s real name is; for all the learners used to call him ‘Lazybones’], Sir Kaphanthengo, Sir Moffat, Sir Chikopa, Madam Jabu and others used to repeatedly tell us that barter is the exchange of goods with goods.

As such, the Mbuti and Efe groups often pop out of the forest to trade with local farmers on the edges of forests. Maybe Wanderers lost out on the opportunity to ‘trade’ with the Mbuti and Efe. Maybe the Mbuti and Efe gave AS Vita players high-energy foods. I doubt Wanderers’ chances of upsetting AS Vita at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe, for Vita will be high on cassava and wild fruits harvested by the nomadic groups of the DRC. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

What makes me say all this? My happiness at hearing that Chipuwa had a grand game. Maybe he sneaked out of the hotel they were booked in to ‘trade’ with the Mbuti and Efe.

Chipuwa is a nice fella and once saved me the brushes when I once went to Limbe Country Club, where the Nomads were training. That is before they even knew that, sometime in 2018, they would be competing in the Caf Champions League – let alone playing against AS Vita.

Now, I went to the Nomads training ground because I wanted to re-live the days I used to watch the team train at Moneymen Club in Blantyre. Yes, I have also watched them train at Limbe Country Club and the BAT Ground.

Upon arrival at Limbe Country Club— I actually arrived before Nomads’ players arrived— I found people [Wanderers’ fans] quarrelling. The bone of contention was whether a “white man” has ever played for Wanderers’ arch-rivals Nyasa Big Bullets. Apparently, the Nomads’ fans were calling themselves— as they sometimes do— angelezi.

I tried to intervene, to give a background of the teams but my voice drowned in the ‘waters’ of the many voices. Every time I tried to speak, the other people would shout me down.

And then came Chipuwa who, upon seeing me, said [as he does]: “A Rich mulipo [Are you still around, Rich]?”

You see, Chipuwa and I know each other. So, when he spoke at Limbe Country Club, mentioning my name, the people who, hitherto, were unwilling to listen to me, started falling all over themselves, trying to listen to me.

They even stopped doing whatever they were doing whenever they heard me coughing.

Ah, how I enjoyed it. I was saved from the job of trying to convince the Nomads’ supporters. My voice was now qualifies opinion. When Chipuwa mentions your name, coughing becomes a language! Especially when you know Chipuwa. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

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