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Thursday, August 12, 2010

A new flag: the dissolution of a plethora of memories

I pity myself for the fact that when significant things happen in Malawi, I just happen not to be there.  Perhaps I shouldn't pity myself because location does offer me some measure of objectivity.  So now, the flag has been changed. To others it's just a matter of the order of colours, the size/form of a galactical object and a few other nuance, not a big deal. For me, however, there are two things of lesser importance that I do in reaction: laugh it off by asking, now that there is a new flag, shall we finally say goodbye to the usage of mapolo a malayina to hang them on? I remember as a child observing with curiosity as the men of the black stripe on khaki dug holes whenever the red convertible came to town, they would dig a round hole yay wide and plonk in the painted white mapolo with fluttering flags at the top end. Ay, not sustainable to forest populations if you ask me. 

The other reaction of lesser importance that comes and goes is, 'If I do claim I'm a Malawian, when in the world will anyone ever ask MY opinion on matters that define my identity, like my flag for example?'  Anywho, it's the issue of the collective of Malawian memories that strikes me most glaringly and I think is most important; the meaning of this symbol as has been reflected upon by Malawian across the board is now suddenly (within a year, I would argue) removed from the fore and replace with another that we'll have to learn anew. All the lore, imaginations, facts, myths, and whatever else attached to it, poff!  In principle, I do agree that kwacha refers to the era of the breaking away from colonial rule but then, does kwacha not relate to the present in that many new dawns are still to be experienced. It is a process, dawning is:  a continual reflection that things don't have to be as they are but viewed and reviewed, visited again and again and again, together as we build.  Perhaps I'm a conservative, more than I may care to admit, still, I am yet to grasp the necessity of this change.

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