We are eagles


A story is told in West Africa, Ghana to be specific, of a poultry farmer who got what he thought was a bat. He placed it in a kraal alongside chickens, feeding it the way he was feeding the chickens.

After some years a naturalist who was passing by noted that in the kraal there was one bird that was not a chicken. He told the farmer that he was raising an eagle in his kraal. The farmer said that it was no longer an eagle as it was behaving like a chicken having for three years been fed on chicken feed.

The naturalist told the farmer that once an eagle, it is always an eagle. He lifted it from the kraal and threw it into the air so that is furls its wings and fly but it could not. The farmer sarcastically said, ‘once an eagle fed on chicken feed, always a chicken.’


The naturalist tried the process again and behold at the third moment the eagle flapped its wings and soared high in the sky and disappeared. He then told the farmer, ‘once an eagle always an eagle.’

Speaking at the 20th anniversary commemoration of the Rwanda genocide Dr. PLO Lumumba said that we Africans are eagles who for so long have been fed on chicken feed such that we strongly think that we are chickens.

Several schools of thought must have tried to lift us into the air in order for us to realise that we are eagles but we are taken down by the chicken feed of disbelief.


Africa possesses 80 percent of the arable land in the world yet we keep on importing food, even in countries that are blessed with perennial rivers like Malawi.

Our minds are fed with chicken feed of our inability to strategise on how best to fly out of the quagmire of food deficiency to the brightening skies of food sufficiency.

We are a people fed on the chicken feed of corruption. We are fed on the chicken feed that tenders are mere proposals and the real deals are done behind curtains.

We are fed on the chicken feed of tribal differences instead of realising our ‘eaglehood’ in that through our different cultures we form a wonderful nation that through embracing its differences can rise to stardom.

We Africans and we Malawians in particular are now more than ever before highly challenged to grow our strong wings and fly as eagles. Africa is rising. It is encouraging to note that Africa is now awash with exciting stories of some fellow Africans, leaders and ordinary people that made strides that have seen them regaining their eaglehood status having been fed on the chicken feed of failure.

Rwanda is a wonderful example in Africa. Having been fed on the chicken feed of genocide whereby man visited pain on another man, whereby even pastors led the slaughter of those who sought refuge in the houses of God making people think that sometimes the blood of ethnicity is thicker than the blood of Christ, some Rwandese had to fly like an eagle and stop the senseless butchering of man by another man.

Now is the time we inculcate in our people the self-belief that they are achievers, that they can do more and that charity can no longer be taken for granted.

Let us all, as a nation, look at how best we can move away from the chains of donor dependence to self-dependence. Now is the time we realise we are eagles that have to fly into the high skies of economic emancipation.

Let nationalism be our guiding principle. We have to abide by the belief that all we do has to be in the interest of developing our nation and to the benefit of our citizens and our country at large.

Now is the time our people realise that the rivers that flow in their villages are wonderful resources that can see them transforming agriculture and that we can no longer be relying on rain-fed agriculture

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