Thom Milanzi’s payback


Surely, the past can sometimes be an unexpected cargo of fun or, as the case may be, sadness.

But, today, I would like to celebrate the past as a cargo of fun.

I laugh every time I remember the adventures of former Mighty Be Forward Wanderers player and [former] team manager Thom Milanzi.


Maybe Thom Milanzi was meant to be an entertainer— in his case, on the soccer pitch. There are many who used to be on the edge of their seats whenever Thom Milanzi touched the ball in his hay days. But the days I am talking of here are the days before the hay days; days when Chitawira’s House Number 11 [you remember those old institutional houses ? I am talking of those!] was the place I called home.

In those days, my typical day was predictable: From House Number 11 to Mulambalala Primary School and, later, Chitawira Primary School. Once in a while, we could go and enjoy cinema at a nursery school close to Chitawira Primary School. I remember the song in one film:

Wamenya mwana/




I do not even remember the title of that film.

Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

In those days, Chitawira’s House Number 11 was white. In those days, House Number 11 had one bedroom, and the room meant for a kitchen and store room had to be converted to a bedroom. In those days, House Number 11 was not self-contained because some facilities such as toilets and bathrooms were outside. So that, in the middle of the night, when nature called, one would be forced to get out of the house to access them. A risky under-taking!

Now, my father— Mr Leviano Simon— used to work at Escom Power House, Ginnery Corner, Blantyre. Well, he used to earn enough for himself and us; Escom being Escom!

But my mother was an entrepreneur of sorts. She could not sit idle at home and wait for the ‘big man’. And, so, she started selling zitumbuwa [flitters]. I and my cousin Nisphore Gervasio could sell the flitters along the pavement that takes one from where we have Chipiku stores’ shop in Chitawira to the bus stage at Gulupu [oh, now I remember, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital was simply referred to as Gulupu in those days. I do not know why].

In those days, pine trees were part of the environment. One man, who was mentally challenged, used to roam around actually. He used to stay in the ‘forest’ of pines in what we call Chitawira Industrial Area. His name was Mwinithengo!

Mwinithengo was an amiable fella. Friendly during the day and angry at night. That stretch of land we call Chitawira Industrial Area used to belong to Mwinithengo. Of course, he had no title deeds.

Well, Mwinithengo no longer walks around, for the pine trees and the reality that was Mwinithengo is gone. Did Mwinithengo leave a will? Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

In those days, you either supported Bata Bullets or Mighty Wanderers. It was common for those who fell for bullets to sing:





Now, I do not know why, but I always sided with the victim. In this case, the “wadazi” victim. And, so, I fell for Mighty!

Back to Mwinithengo! Who could tamper with Mwinithengo? Nobody! He moved around with a sack. In it, knives and all sorts of things occupied the space. And, ah! [Now that I remember] we used to have another mentally disturbed man called Nkhabe!

Maybe people like Sipitala can remember him.

Back to the Thom Milanzi issue.

As we sold flitters, Thom Milanzi— not the mature Thom Milanzi you know’ a youthful one— could approach us and, while clenching his fist, get flitters for free. He would just give you that threatening look and, boom, he would get flitters he wanted and go wherever he was going.

Who could touch Thom?

You know what kids do. Hastily, they make decisions and, hastily, they go! They sail with the fair wind of childhood possibilities.

Well, I and Nisphore could go home in the evening, tell mummie about Thom Milanzi’s ‘mid-day ‘games’, and off we could go, to Thom Milanzi’s home— which was right after the Katungwe Ground.

And Thom Milanzi would be chided by his custodians before they would square the bill.

How we laughed on our way home, safe in the knowledge that Thom Milanzi had paid up. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

But, guess what? Thom Milanzi would, within a day or two or three, be at it again. He would do it again by getting flitters for free and, again, we could go to his home again and they could pay again.

But, then, Thom Milanzi was Thom Milanzi because, before long, he would do it again by getting flitters for free and, again, we could go to his home again and they could pay again.

Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Before long, I started looking forward to Thom Milanzi doing it again so that we could go to his home again to see him pay again! It was as if Thom Milanzi was the pay master.

Thom Milanzi really made my days then!

But look at how mature he is now. Unlike the Thom Milanzi of old!

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