30 October 2018

Malawi: Chewa King Gawa Undi Calls for Abolishment of Harmful Cultural Practices

Powerful Chewa king Gawa Undi has called for an immediate abolishment of harmful cultural practices.

The king said this in Nkhotakota on Monday when he visited traditional leaders and subjects under him during his 10-day tour to Malawi.

"All cultural practices proved harmful by science or anything must be discarded," said Gawa Undi.

He also told parents to stop marrying off their daughters, saying the girls need to be in school and get all the education they needed.

"Marriage is a long-term commitment; therefore, it needs proper planning. Education is the best treasure for everyone in any way. Make sure that all our children acquire the best education.

There is nothing to compromise with education. Learn to be patient like someone who plants an avocado tree which takes about a decade before it starts bearing fruits. The fruits of education take time before you start enjoying them but once you are done you enjoy them forever," he said.

He emphasized that no parent should marry their children off before they complete tertiary education.

The Chewa king also encouraged all girls who get pregnant while in school to go back and continue with their education after delivery.

The King asked the people to abandon all cultural practices that are harmful in the society. He cited chokolo (where a brother marries his deceased brother's wife), fisi (where a man sleeps with another man's wife due to different reasons. He may also sleep with girls after reaching puberty to expose them to sexual life) and chidyerano (where people may exchange sexual partners for fun or other beliefs).

"Be an advocate for change. Say no to all harmful practices and all the poverty plus sexually transmitted diseases will be history," said Gawa Undi.

He also asked all people to take part in government development activities including planting of vegetation.

"During my tour, I have seen that most of the trees are gone. I urge you to plant trees and take care of them so that we have the beautiful scenery back. In the same way, the man-made disasters that are troubling us today will be of the past," he said.

The King also advised families to be transparent to each other in terms of the worth they acquire in marriage.

"Excessive beer drinking and lack of transparency and accountability in our families will just make us poorer than before, let us be responsible," he advised.

Gawa Undi was one of the guests during the Mulhako wa Alhomwe celebrations last weekend. He leads the Chewa in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia said he is touring his people throughout Malawi.

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