The other day, while seated at a funeral, I was listening to the announcements of condolence contributions made to the grieved family. When the contributions were totalled, it was announced that K200 000 had been raised.
The trend is almost similar at most funerals. Such trends also follow at events such as weddings and engagements. As much as I am not a big fan of the concept of pelekanipelekani at such events, I have come to accept that it has been fused into Malawian tradition.
Once the crowd gathers itself and dashes to the dance floor, the next thing you see is kwacha notes flying all over the place. At the end of the event, you either learn through the grapevine or through announcements that the event had raised some thousands of kwacha. For some big shots, the flying banknotes add up to a million or millions.
From the look of things, when people come together in support of a single cause with some contributions, great things are achieved. Even in a family, members of a family need to come together to help each other grow and develop. It can be counterproductive for family members to seek their own growth selfishly. After all, no person is an island.
The world has become something else and selfishness and greed are reigning stronger than kings in the 18th century. Day in and day out, I listen to the news or read the news and end up wishing I had not bothered. A large part of the news nowadays is about people acting in the selfish ways possible: murder, theft, violence, promiscuity and deception are the order of the day.
These are worldwide trends as well as national. Our country is now in a sorry state and this is largely because people act selfishly without considering the well-being of others. There are a few people that act in ways that protect the common good. Half the time what we see is people seeking to satisfy their individual desires without consideration for others and the consequences of their actions at that moment and in the long run.
I must point out that such trends are not exclusive to people in power or people with influence. Such trends are visible with what we can call “ordinary” people. After all, the pool that the leaders and influential people come from is the same pool as that of these ordinary people. Everyone is being influenced by what everyone else is doing. We are not coming together to do good; we are falling apart by doing bad.
I would dare that half of the ordinary people will behave just the same as the people in power and influence if they had the same opportunity. The people in power are not mu c h different from the rest of us; the major difference is that ordinary people do not have their everyday lives and moves scrutinised and publicised. I am sure if ordinary people can start working together, the goodwill can flow to the people who end up in power.
And this can only happen if we start coming together in little things. How many times do we see stand-offs between neighbours to construct a fence that will benefit both of them? How many times do we see motorists driving selfishly to accomplish whatever mission they are on regardless of other people using the same road? And how many times do we see people filling up their plates to the brim at events regardless of the long queue behind them that needs the same food?
Little things like these show the selfishness that ordinary people have day in and day out. But this does not have to continue being the trend if we want to develop and grow and as a nation. Just as we do at the funerals, coming together, humbling ourselves (or seemingly pretending to) and collectively supporting the grieved family, we can also come together in other aspects, humble ourselves (or seemingly pretend to) and collectively work towards the greater good of our people and our nation.
Together, we can achieve greatness. Together, we can move mountains.
I rest my case