Walks of Life, the other side of Malawi
This is not a serious book on Malawi (that charming country connected with, of all people, Madonna) or Africa. Spanning several years, it’s simply a whimsical travelogue of one man’s struggle to find meaning where none exists. At age 22, soon after college, the author was faced with the actual possibility of a JOB. He chose instead to travel Malawi, his native country.
The book resulting directly from that is packed with funny incidents and off-beat characters. These eccentrics interact with a seemingly off-hand persona to create situations that fascinate the reader in the retelling. Malawi’s varied landscape, and her famed Lake Malawi, provide the perfect stage.
We meet a man who is baffled by the very idea of a big walk as a way of fundraising: “Why pay someone for walking?” We are introduced to Luka, a larger-than-life storyteller, who appreciates the rarity of a receptive audience. In the author he finds such an audience and the result is a story you have to read not to believe. And then we have the pleasure of getting acquainted to the man who could lay a claim to being the loudest (and sleaziest) Malawian; a man people once referred to as Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara himself, before he fell from grace. Last, not least, we have Beletoni, a man with a place booked in the legends of Cape Maclear, next to the early missionaries.
Famed South African cartoonist Tony Grogan adds visual impact to these tales and further whimsy to a very appealing book. To cut a short story even shorter, you will discover a side of Malawi only the idiosyncratic eye of a sensitive local can show you. You will discover the other side of Malawi
About the authors
Michael Mutisunge Phoya
Writer and filmmaker Michael Phoya was born in 1980. He has run an online magazine, worked as art director on Malawi’s first feature film, the multi-award winning Seasons of a Life, authored his initially self-published Walks of Life, now a best-selling Central Africana title, co-authored the definitive history of Blantyre, Central Africa’s oldest city, soon to be published by Central Africana, and produced / directedTelling our Stories: Stonard Lungu, a tribute to one of Africa’s best musicians.
Tony Grogan is one of the doyens of South African cartooning having been editorial cartoonist for the Cape Times, Cape Town since 1974. His work has also been published in many other South African newspapers and abroad. He is an illustrator of note and has illustrated many books including seven of his own. Among these is the well-known Between the Cape and Cairo (Central Africana, 1995), in which he records his impressions of Malawi, an evocative record in words and drawings.