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Appendix 5. Reclaiming Virginity

Harri Englund Indiana University Press ePub

Unedited version of a story broadcast on Nkhani Zam’maboma on July 11, 2008. The transcription is a copy of the original sent to the MBC, and no attempt has been made to amend its spelling and grammar.

“Worship, the Woman is Polyandrous!”

A woman speaking at the First-Grade Magistrate’s Court in Lilongwe demanded her husband to restore her virginity and cleanse her of AIDS if he wanted to leave her. But some tried to think critically and condemned the ex-wife describing her irresponsible.

Magistrate Kachama made the situation even worse when he said: “The woman is saying you are still her husband. And that if you want to leave her, you should restore her virginity and cleanse her of AIDS, which she claims, you infected her. What are you going to say?”

The husband did not waste time thinking about what he could do for the lady. He just hit the nail on its head saying: “I don’t want this woman. As for AIDS, I cannot be responsible because the woman married three times before me.”

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5 Inequality Is Old News

Harri Englund Indiana University Press ePub

Wayilesi yakwanu, “the radio from your place,” an editor of Nkhani Zam’maboma remarked to me one day when the BBC World Service blared in the newsroom. Before I could think of a response, the editor went on to state that even white people should have a program like Nkhani Zam’maboma. “White people also misbehave” (azungunso amapalamula), she asserted, making them seem comparable to the Malaŵian figures of authority whose deceptive appearances made the headlines on Nkhani Zam’maboma. Listening to his colleague’s comments, another editor of the program concurred with the view that white people, for all their superiority in wealth and education, should also be exposed as liars and adulterers. But he asked me if witchcraft (ufiti) existed where I came from. My answer that it did not exist in the same way as in Malaŵi confirmed the idea he already had about witchcraft and science as the defining domains of Africa and Europe, respectively.1 After a pause, however, the editor recalled that even white people could adopt Malaŵian ways, to the extent that a white priest had joined the gule wamkulu secret society, an incident that the editor said had been reported on Nkhani Zam’maboma.

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3 Against the Occult

Harri Englund Indiana University Press ePub

A story broadcast on Nkhani Zam’maboma in 2003 told of a woman who had been found alone in a rural graveyard at midday, lying on top of a tomb.1 On closer inspection, villagers discovered a bag next to her. It contained a razor blade, a needle, and a bottle of blood. The woman had sought to dispel suspicions that anything sinister was at issue by claiming that she did not know what she was doing because she was drunk. The story went on to report that the woman had good employment in the commercial capital Blantyre and that the villagers who had found her suspected that she had wanted to protect her job against possible dismissal. They also thought that the visit to the graveyard had been occasioned by her desire to find a charm (chizimba) for making bricks used in building a modern house (nyumba yamakono). Her first husband was reported to have left her because of her witchcraft (ufiti), while she had bewitched her second husband to stay at home with the couple’s children.

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Appendix 2. Graveyard Visit

Harri Englund Indiana University Press ePub

A story broadcast on Nkhani Zam’maboma on July 25, 2003, followed by translation.

Mayi ŵina wa m’mudzi mwa [location omitted] akuti anapezeka ali kumanda masanasana dzuwa likuswa mtengo. Mayiwo amene wangoyamba kumene ntchito pa kampani in a kumzinda wa Blantyre akuti anapezeka atagona pa mitumbira iŵiri ya manda. Anthu atayang’anitsitsa pafupi ndi mayiwo, anapeza kuti panali kathumba momwe munapezeka zinthu monga malezala, singano ndi kabotolo momwe munali magazi. Atamufunsa chomwe amachita kumandako, iye anayankha kuti samadziŵa chomwe amachita ponamizira kuti ataledzera. Anthu ambiri akukhulupirira kuti mayiwo akufuna kukhwimira ntchito imene anayipeza kumene kuti asamuchotse ndiponso akuti akufuna chizimba choti atenthere uvuni ya njerwa zake zomwe akuti akufuna kumangira nyumba ya makono. Mwamuna woyamba wa mayiwo akuti anathawa zochita za ufiti za mayiwo zokhangati zomwezi. Mwamuna amene anakwatiŵa naye mayiwo panopa akuti akumukhwi-mira kuti asamachoke pa khomopo kuti azingosamalira ŵana cholinga choti iye azipanga zofuna zake.

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Appendix 3. Drunken Children

Harri Englund Indiana University Press ePub

A story broadcast on Nkhani Zam’maboma on July 19, 2003, followed by translation.

Bambo ŵina yemwe amagwira ntchito pa sitolo ya mwenye ŵina ku Limbe m’mzinda wa Blantyre akuti anamwetsa ana ake masese atasoŵa ndalama yodyetsera anawo. Bamboyo akuti amakhala [location omitted] kutawuni ya Ndirande m’mzinda wa Blantyre. Mwezi wathawu mkuluyu akuti sanalandire malipiro ake a pamwezi pa zifukwa za pakati pa iyeyo ndi bwana wake. Atafika ku nyumba mkuluyu akuti anapeza mkazi ŵake atapita kwawo kamba kotopa ndi umphaŵi. Mayiyo akuti anasiya ana onse amene anabereka ndi mkuluyo ndipo pofika pa nyumbapo bamboyo akuti anaŵapeza anaŵa akungolira ndi njala. Izi zinamuimitsa mutu ndipo anaganiza zosakasaka chakudya. Pochoka pa khomopo mkuluyu anatenga poto ndi kuloŵera kumalo ena kumene amagulitsa mowa wa masese. Atafika kumaloko bamboyo akuti anatolera mapakete a masese omwe anthu anataya ndi kuyamba kukhuthulira masese otsalira mu potomo. Poto litadzadza mkuluyu anabwerera kunyumba yake ndi kuŵiritsa masesewo. Ataŵira bamboyo akuti anamwetsa anawo omwe anaganiza kuti ndi mphala. Atamwa maseseŵa anaŵa akuti analedzera kwambiri ndipo mkulu anaŵanyamula ndi kuŵagoneka. Pakadali pano akuti bamboyo anaima mutu ndipo ŵasiya kupita ku ntchito.

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