Sam Mpasu on his new book: The Hare and Other Folktales

Sam Mpasu, formerly Ntcheu Central Constituency legislator (1994-2004) is a Malawian politician and novelist. Also a former cabinet minister in President Bakili Muluzi government, Mpasu just published his third title: The Hare and Other Folktales.  Nyasa Times’ Pius Nyondo writes about Mpasu’s life, and the just released book.

Sam Mpasu

Sam Mpasu

To many Malawians, Sam Mpasu is just one of those politicians – making news here, noise there.  But the fact is that Mpasu’s life is multifaceted. The list of what he does ends not on politics. Mpasu is a published novelist, and just recently Malawi woke up to a new realization that the 70 year old is also a very capable folklorist.

Mpasu just published a new title on folklore literature: The Hare and Other Folktales.

It was forty years ago, at the age of 30, that Mpasu published his debut novel, Nobody’s Friend. Then, he was just a fresh graduate from University of Malawi’s Chancellor College and working as a diplomat in Germany.

“My writing started as a hobby, and it is still a hobby,” he told arts and entertainment journalist Kondwani Kamiyala in 2008. “I did not set out to be a professional writer. And, because it is a hobby, I take it up anytime I’m free to enjoy it.”

After Nobody’s Friend in 1975 – which got him incarcerated as the powers-that-be then interpreted it as referring to Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda who was nobody’s friend as far as international relations were concerned – it took Mpasu a good two decades to publish another book, Political Prisoner 3/75 in 1995.

Thus he commented on Political Prisoner 3/75: “What shocked me was a serious campaign by the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) trying to discount the stories of atrocities – that they did not happen, that we were telling lies. That fired me to put my experiences down into a book. So, I wrote that book [Political Prisoner 3/75] in two weeks – from memory.”

Well, maybe it is Mpasu’s style to publish after every 20 years. Last month, two decades after Political Prisoner 3/75, Mpasu announced the publication of his third book: The Hare and Other Folktales.

In the new book, Mpasu branches off from adult fiction to that of children.

“It is an attempt to rekindle the fireside folktale culture that I inherited from my grandparents – a tradition that is slowly dying,” Mpasu told The Nation.

According to Mpasu, Malawians are slowly losing folktale tradition.

“It was a moral campus for the young ones. Through the folklores lessons of bravery, stupidity, malice and honesty were passed on. Now our children are glued to television screens from where they learn foreign values.”

While admitting the marasmic culture of reading and writing in the country, the former speaker of the Malawi parliament challenged writers to create material that is interesting.

“When you write material that is interesting, people will read. You have to give children a good reason why they have to leave their TV screens and read your story,” he advised.

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30 thoughts on “Sam Mpasu on his new book: The Hare and Other Folktales”

  1. Anamangidwa ndi Muluzi atasepana pa ndale. next Muluzi nayeso timange basiI

  2. James says:

    welcome big man.we highly appriciate about it.keep it up we hopfully “ll read it as an academic book material

  3. Edgar Lungu says:

    I would rather see you write a book titled “Trespassing the Graveyard”

    1. mjomba says:

      Malawi has finest writers I remember Kuleza Phokoso, Dalitso Baloyi, Akwete Sande, Mike Chipalasa- where are these literature greats

  4. Cyrus Mwenenyimbiri says:

    Sam Mpasu is my unsung hero on writing. Very creative and massive flair for English language. Congratulations Sam. When are you releasing your other book: “The Return of the Past”?

  5. Dan Phiri says:


  6. Rasta says:

    Kenn Lipenga come with your book as well

  7. BalakaGuy says:

    He is a great writer,l read Nobodys friend and Political prisoner,they are just very good,and if you dont read those books you are missing a lot.

  8. Masoambeta says:

    I never take this guy seriously.

  9. Benlison says:

    Keep it up.

  10. Havard Graduate says:


  11. Fred Amamu says:

    Mbava iyi…kodi iwe sunaswere mu ndende chifukwa cha katangale…iwe sunali nduna yoyamba kumangidwa chifukwa cha kuba….ngakhale ku Germany iwe sunachotsedwa ndi Kongress chifukwa cha kuba. Nanga mwana wako Joseph…naye si mbava number wani! Ukufuna kupusitsa ndani apa! Prisoner 3/75 my foot!

  12. Munthu says:

    Tsopano munkakatani kumanda munthu wa nzeru bwino bwino?

  13. Tiyanjane says:

    Mr. Mpasu, I suugest you actvely civic educate parents to encourage their young chuldren to read. It begins with parents themselves reading ‘The Hare…’ and other books to their toddlers. I worry to see how kids’ birthday gifts have shifted from books and crayons to expensive cloths, shoes etc.

    I also request the media to invite Mr. Mpasu to their programmes to speak on children’s reading and drawing books. Shall we start with you Sam Kabambe and Hazel Kandaye? Or you Lucy Kulasi and Robet Kalua? How about you Jane Gogodas (although I do not like your shapeless ‘Outlook’ table). Its a joke, but have that strange table changed Jane.

  14. Kwangwagwa says:

    Baba, kodi kumanda munapezeka kuja mwabwerakonso ndi nzeru zopitiliza kulemba mabukhu eti?

  15. Chris says:

    The problem in malawi is high prices not reading culture,imagine how many rural masses can afford a book?

  16. Batuso says:

    Mr Mpaso zilibwino ua now encouraging childrens to focus on which level they want to be keep it up!

  17. Wamisala osagenda says:

    Likupezekera kuti bukuli?

  18. Kaliati Galu says:

    Thumbs up Mr Mpasu.

  19. Onasiwelo says:

    Angoni enieni still alive and kicking I like this man.

  20. Issa Kabudula says:

    Sam Mpasu – as one of the young man of Nyasaland, I say bring more books and give more speeches to the youth of Malawi such that we can learn lessons. I remember when I was a bit young say 15 years a go, where before going to sleep we were used to listening from oral stories (nthano) from our elders, many of these stories carried with them instructions, advices and directing us to good behaviour which many Malawians of my age are happily teaching our kids – unlike the younger sisters and brothers of today – TV has brought many ills and we can not count them – its a foreign culture which need to be learnt otherwise we are in trouble. What we see is what we do – check on dressing alone, many so call fashion of today – its either showing the nakedness/nudity and we are happy to say its fashion (my foot).

  21. Che Msusa says:

    That’s fine.

  22. Ababa Thamangiwa. says:

    Mpasu I thought u could write some erious mature novel not nthano. there are numerus cartoons around for children. i thought something like Nobody’s Friend would come after this long wait but alas, i was expecting too much from MR MPASU.

  23. edda mwalweni says:

    Wawa Biyeni, thanx alot for that & i hope tiliona posachedwapa

  24. zoona says:

    kudos to sam…let us write till our pens run dry

  25. Bigman keep up with your talent. It is interesting that most people like you

  26. amadeus says:

    True, this guy is really multi-faceted. Writing three books and the Field York Scandal!

  27. yohane says:

    He is really a good writer. Where can I find the political prisoner3/75 book. I need it help me people.

  28. Che says:

    Zopezeka kumanda zik mwalembamo?

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