For a while I have tried to understand why our beloved nation of Malawi somehow seems to be stagnant despite the rich potential we have ranging from our natural resources, picturesque landscapes, the beauty of lake Malawi and most importantly the untapped human capital.
How do we prosper our nation, our people? Is politics to blame? I am not interested in discussing politics simply because I am not privy to the Malawi political meanderings. I have lived far too long in Zambia to comment on the Malawian affairs with authority. Despite this, I keep abreast of Malawian affairs via news platforms, family, friends and the usual drive from Lusaka to Lilongwe.
In returning to my question: How do we prosper our nation and its people? I think we need a disruptive type of development, one which is not reliant on aid nor politics. Now, you may ask, where do we find such a form of development? The answer is simple: PHILANTHROPY!
Philanthropy is simply and individual or groups passion to ensure the welfare of others is promoted and it is usually expressed by generous donation of money to good causes such as building school, creating employment, funding scholarships, building infrastructure all at no cost to the receiver.
When our fellow countrymen and countrywomen think of philanthropy in Africa they tend to see it as the work of ‘AZUNGU.’ Most of us would associate philanthropy with the likes of Madonna, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Angelina Jolie, Bono, Ford Foundation, Soros, Charity Water, World Bank, Oxfam even ‘MWINA AZUNGU MU LILONGWE.’ You cannot be blamed for thinking in such a way, after-all they are the ones we hear of on the radio, see on the television sets and read about.
This notion of ‘AZUNGU’ occupying much of the discourse we have on issues concerning development, charity and philanthropy in Malawi is extremely worrying. We you look at South Africa, they celebrate their Desmond Tutu’s and Patrice Motsepe’s. In Nigeria they celebrate their Aliko Dangote’s and Tony Elumelu’s. In Zimbabwe they celebrate their Strive Masahisa’s and may we not forget the late Jairos Jiri. But in Malawi, we seem to idolise our politicians who have not done much to lift the shackles of poverty, nor truly contribute in a meaningful way. Is it because we have no philanthropists or social entrepreneurs? No! We have many.
In Malawi we have Mike Mlombwa and Ravi Rach who are examples of philanthropy that empowers a nation. They are not alone but I pick these ones due to what I have read over the past year and from discussions I have had with numerous Malawians.
Mike Mlombwa was born in poverty and has becoming a billionaire in Malawi and true role model. He has built successful businesses, one being Countrywide car hire which owns a fleet of over 100 vehicles and can be found at airports and hotels across the country.
Mlombwa has on countless times come to assist the nation in supporting children with education funds, food aid for those facing hunger, created jobs and a passion to ensure he fosters and nurtures the youth. His contributions to Malawi have been in the six figure region of US dollars.
Ravi Rach, who I have come across in the media on a number of occasions has taken to supporting Malawi’s NUMBER ONE gem in sport – The Netball National Team. His organisation has donated over 600 million Kwacha, has also offered to support other sporting activities, build a stadium, create a sports academy, provide study scholarships for kids.
In the rural areas they have provided bore holes, built bridges for communities and want to do more for the nation. Rach has invested millions of US dollars into Malawi.
Our Malawian diaspora have not translated their individual contributions or heightened talk of assistance into collective, strategic investments nor have the majority of Malawians in country and THIS NEEDS TO CHANGE.
We may not have the Dangote’s or Elumelu’s but we have the Mike Mlombwa’s and Ravi Rach’s, the you and me of Malawi. Our own philanthropists should truly serve as an example to many of us that we too can make a contribution to our people.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :