Kachaje: The head is for thinking

Some years ago someone shared with me the thought that we need to use the head for thinking and not carrying heavy stuff. To illustrate his point he continued sharing that both the white man and the black man knew long time ago that water is essential for life and they both used “heads”.the head

The white man used his head to think of ways to bring water into his house. He designed and constructed a water pump, a dam, and pipes that brought water directly into his house. With some continuous thinking, he has sustained this water delivery method and his family enjoys fresh clean water at the turn of a tap.

The black man on the other hand decided to use the heads of his wife and daughters to draw the water from the river or well through water buckets. Sadly, he became satisfied with this method which was “effortless” on his part.

The white man stopped drawing water from the river hundreds of years ago and the black man continues to use the heads of his wife and daughter, sometimes, from miles away and he seems to see no problem with his method.

It is unacceptable that we seem to have accepted that water should be sourced like this. I believe as a nation we need to begin to use our heads for thinking so that we can stop abusing the heads of our women as transportation tools for bringing water into our homes.

We need to set a goal as a nation that there will come a time when tap water will be accessible to all.

I believe this is not an impossible dream to be achieved within the next twenty to thirty years. It should not be difficult to achieve this in a country where a third of the land is covered by fresh waters, stretching the entire length of the nation.

I really believe that this is an achievable dream since what we seek to achieve was already attained in the West more than 200 years ago. All it will take is for us to start using our heads for thinking and not abuse them for carrying heavy loads.

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19 thoughts on “Kachaje: The head is for thinking”

  1. chimimombo says:

    umuuze profesa womanga anthu popeza sakumva dziko lidaka nika mkulu wako iwe mfana ungalithe ubweleLE ku USA.

  2. Mwethu says:

    While I agree with Kachaje on most of the topics he writes on but I also tend to see him as just an idealist. Yes this water parable is true but its not exact. Some of us have lived in the western countries and people still carry water from bowsers etc. I think the gist of the matter should be that the government must strive to provide this important utility to its citizenry. Maybe privatisation of the utility companies should be the way to go because others may decide to set up their businesses along the lake or shire river rather than the present scenario of BWB and others relying on inland dams and water sources.
    Ask Bingu and the problems of inland investments and you have your answers.

  3. ZZ Junior says:

    I was always at pains to see the head of state carrying buckets of water on her head. Malawi when are we going to start thinking progressively.

  4. Black empowerment says:

    Henry should stop condemning black race just for the sake pleasing some oppressor.Blacks did alot of things,but they have never been recognised by a white man.We have been brainwashed for so long that heroes were only white people.I have lived in the Mzunguland and have equally met very dull people and poor people for that matter.The man made of poverty of Malawi should not condemn the whole black race.Just tell your thieving politicians friends to stop stealing from tax payer and start developing Malawi.They can take a leaf from Rwanda at what pace it is developing.This too much talk and copying too much from motivational books which Mr Kachaje likes reading and living in a fantasy world will not change things in Malawi.Politicians in Malawi should be taught point point plack to stop in stealing from tax payers. and being wasteful in Malawi.Stop waiting for some demeaning alms from a whiteman.This too much begging has never changed the scenario instead encourage Malawians to work 24/7 and prevent them being exploited by foreigners of their sweat earned raw materials and their natural resources.Finally punish all the cashgaters and their headless thieving presidents for leaving malawi in stinking poverty because of greed.You will see the situation of Malawi changing within 5 years.It is just a change of mindset and start working hard.Useless talk and getting some useless degrees will not change the situation of Malawi as Mr Kachaje also likes memorising some motivational books from some whiteman that are not relevant with Malawi problems.We only need action.Yes we can as united Malawians.

  5. kamuzu kamuzu says:

    Bravo Henry!
    Very educative article.
    Some responses r already showing that most educated and uneducated Malawians do not use their heads for thinking.
    We r lacking in many areas like water and power management coz we don’t want to use our brains to create solutions to our problems

  6. Kenkkk says:

    We need to be careful here. Is it access to communal tap water Or access to tap water in the house? Or both? If it is access to communal tap water for all, we will still carry it on our heads to the house.

    And please don’t generalise about whites. Just visit hungary, Bulgaria, even in Russia and many Eastern European countries, South America, and the backwaters of many western countries, people are carrying water on their heads or using other means of transport from communal taps.

    We all aspire to tap water in our houses but that is a tall order for most Malawians and many other countries in the world, so we should strive first for communal tap water for all, then move eventually to tap water in our houses for all.

    Our heads still have alot of carrying. Having said that it is a good thought provoking message you have given us.

  7. John says:





  8. The real Ujeni says:

    If the one child policy China passed acted upon a few years ago was being discussed in Malawi with the aim of implementing it, the general public would be commenting that sizingatheke zimenezo. Such is Malawi mentality, so backward thinking.

  9. The real Ujeni says:

    Henry has hit the nail on the head but look rascals are being defensive, these are the people who are pulling Malawi down. There is nothing wrong to copy a system that will improve the livelihood of Malawians. One person invents something and the world copies it but Malawi refuse to do so, this is the reason we are poorest. Aeroplane was invented by the Wright brothers and the world copied it and improved on it. That’s how people develop. Don’t just argue for the sake of arguing, Malawians still live like in stone age yet everybody around us is advancing.

  10. aaron Kaluwa says:

    In Malawi, we speak things that are sensible but act without sense. All what Mr Kachaje said is already known by most Malawians including those in authority. In Capital Hills’ shelves there are a lot pamphlets, books, gazettes, laws, by laws, charters and many other writings that contain sensible strategies, plans and objectives but when it come to acting upon those plans, we all act senselessly and foolishly. I mean we, thus all of us. The problem is that we use our head(brain) and mouth. Let’s turn around our country by using our heads(brains) and hands to produce development.

  11. Kumamvetsa says:

    Abale tizimvetsa ndi kutsaila nkhani. This article is important and is relevant today. If we can not use our brains, we’ll continue using firewood forever
    The author is not claiming to be a waterworks designer nor a water engineer. He’s simply an Economist doing his job. So is total ignorance to ask him to do more. He’s supposed to tell us what we’re supposed to. Is IP to us dafty Malawians to use this information or stick this kind of unproductive but retrogressive arguments

    Poor Malawians! Always making uneducated comments

  12. Nhuma says:

    This is a very good point you have raised. We need to set cut-off points for these norms we have set for ourselves for too long. We should be aiming high. No more carrying water on our heads full stop. No more tilling with hoes full stop. No more living in substandard houses full stop… no more siting on floor in classroom full stop. No more starving in Malawi. This is what we need to be doing in a country like ours. We need to start thinking and promoting and rewarding innovations. Thank you!


    There is a HUGE difference between a black man and the whiteman.
    The blackman is not as intellectually curious as the whiteman. I suspect that this could be cultural more than genetic.
    Some of our African cultures seem to suppress intellectual curiosity while those in the West and the far East praise it. Consequently, we grow up with much lowered expectations than whites.
    Author, it seem like you are the only economist who can think “outside the box”. My question is, why haven’t they appointed you Governor of RBM? What are they waiting for?
    The only way the blackman can attain the whiteman’s intellectual standards is by going back and reinventing a wheel of his own, and work his way up. It may take him 200 years.
    Is he patient enough to wait that long? No; he wants to use the latest whiteman’s technology without knowing how his friend got it done, including toxic GMOs or hazardous microwaves.
    But then, this water problem can easily be solved within a decade using solar powered pumps.

  14. ephrahim says:

    As Jesus showed often through stories the people around him and through the bibel to us, how Gods plans are with us, this simple story tells us something!
    Transfered in our actual situation it shows: How leadership is dealing with development. Out of the story in particular with :
    1)technical infra structur development, engineering, education as a whole…
    2) Gender issues, child labour. .
    3) Labor issues , cheap…
    You might find more?!-
    As long there is no leadership with a vision,the status quo will be like it is!
    Considering that the Romans had piped water 2000 years ago and the Egyptian channelled water longer than 4000 years before.
    Of course we can say we are poor…,
    as long we or the decision mackers can’t set their priorities right????
    The question remains : How we as each individual person and in particular leadership, are prepared to use our heads for the sake of development!

  15. PIxy says:


  16. augustine says:

    Good at talking just do correct thing man this is the world the same white guys are drawing water from the wells to drink so its a matter of changing ideas not copying what others are doing you will end up like that.

  17. There is no thinking in this story. All you are doing is copying what you say white man thought and did in the first place. So where is your thinking that will be different from the white man but solve similar problem? This is the same that many of the solutions to our problems we just copy them from the west. That’s why we are still poor and will remain so until at the time when we start creating our own solutions to solve our problems

  18. une says:

    Henry walankhula kokwana osapanga zooneka bwanji??? Express Moyo left you with bca now it cant be seen nanu munaba ndalama. Shush it usatinyanse

  19. Ozitsata says:

    Much as I conquer with the author on the need to develop our ways of doing things, I believe not all white have water in there homes. The author has managed to make us believe that whites do not carry water on there heads which is not true. I once visited Argentine and am telling you some people have similar ways to ours .

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