by Yananda Nana Madhlopa
Chetamani Chiwawa chetamani Chiwawa
These were the sounds that welcomed me
That morning as I neared Ekwendeni
The village where my sister was to be married
It was a sad day
Ekwendeni wakukana kumuchupulila vyuvyu
My sister on the other hand was radiant
As these people insulted us!
Our sister was leaving the village
To join this man in this village
Yesu mwimilire mukati mwithu
This song rang in my ears as we sat at the grave yard
It was a sad occasion
My nephew welcomed me with tears
He was sad that his dad was no more
I encouraged him
I couldn’t see my sister!
Where was she
Where was the one who brought us to this village
She was inside the house
Sad and grieving
For the man who brought her to this village was no more
He has left her alone with her seven children and grand children!
Notes: Ekwendeni is a town in the Northern Region of Malawi. It lies about 20 kilometres from Mzuzu, in the Mzimba district.
Chetamani Chiwawa is a song sung in northern Malawi. It literary translate ‘Stop crying Chiwawa’ and is sung at wedding ceremonies to taunt the brides family.
Ekwendeni wakukana kumuchupulila vyuvyu is an expression well known in Ekwendeni (and surounding areas). It literary translates ‘Ekwendeni does not allow dust being throw at it’ and is said to express the pride of those who hail from Ekwendeni
Yesu mwimilire mukati mwithu is a hymn sung at funeral. It Literary translate ‘Jesus stand amidst us’
Yananda Nana Madhlopa is Lecturer, United Nations University Fellow and a Mother of Umsa and Nkosinathi. Her Area of expertise is Gender and Child Care. Apart for her academic work, she writes poems and prose