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“Wachinyamata Safoila”

Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Caroline Luka

Some of you may wonder what the phrase “Wachinyamata safoila” means, and others may be familiar with these Chichewa words. However, in the context that I’m using this phrase I’d be willing to bet that everyone needs some explanation. So let us get to work understanding what this phrase is all about.

This year has started with much vigor. The youth club in my community has finally set sail. A committee was formed, and everyone knew their responsibilities. However, the parents of these youths had little to no clue about what was going on. So being the polite and respectful youth that we are, we decided to put on a show that incorporated all of our objectives helping everyone to understand our intentions and why we need their support.

The practices for the show were fun, but intense. We were opting for perfection, but like any other event we hit bumps in the road. Some of our best drama actors quit last minute, the songs were off-key and the attendance decreased. Stressful right? I know. But we kept pushing. We got replacements and polished up all our performances on reducing school dropouts, sensitization on child marriages, and hygiene. With all these topics that needed to be addressed, the group was working very hard each and every day leading up to the performance.

Wachinyamata safoila. The phrase is back again.

Performance day finally arrived and frankly it didn’t start well. Everyone was late and I had lost hope. I really wanted people to see what we had put together and it seemed that no one welcomed the idea. But wachinyamata safoila. So we waited. We set up the stage, put up our charts, and started singing and dancing just so they knew how serious we were. One by one the people started to come and a few dramas later the area was filled. I was so overwhelmed when I saw the huge crowd in front. My heart danced with joy. The hilarious dramas, captivating poems and loud music really brought life to the grounds.

“…My whole time that I have lived in this village I have never seen anything like this. I encourage you children to continue with your ideas because I am sure it will help our people. Mind you, do not go against your word and do the exact opposite of the messages you are sharing…do what you are telling us here,” said the GVH during her speech. We assured her that “wachinyamata safoila.” So if you haven’t yet figured out what the meaning of this phrase is, let me fill you in.  We want to be the people that bring about change. The youth in this community are not stupid enough to do harm for their futures. They are positive change agents. Just like this year’s CorpsAfrica slogan, we truly are the people we have been waiting for, and it’s all in our hands.


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