First Yao moral, religious book launched: Misyungu Jakwiganya Lunda ni Ndamo Syambone

 Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Bright Msaka on Tuesday launched the first ever Yao book on religion, culture and moral values entitled  Misyungu Jakwiganya Lunda ni Ndamo Syambone.

The Yao book

Reed: Publisher

Msaka: Launched the book and is impressed

The 112-page book is a result of a three-year task that involved Yao chiefs in the eastern region and western Mozambique and Director of New Hope Publishers and Partners in Holistic Development Ministries, Charles Reed, who is also the publisher of the book.

Launching the book at the publishers’ base in Namwera, the Minister said he was very excited that for the first time there was now a book that embraced Yao religion, moral values and culture.

“This is a very defining moment in the history of Yao in the country and in the history of Malawi – when I look at this book, I wonder why we have stayed all this long without it?” said Msaka.

He added: “The book is teaching the Yao tradition, moral values and culture and it also recognizes that there are Yaos who belong to other religions.”

Msaka, therefore, observed that as the book contains proverbs and moral values Yao children learn at initiation camps, it would bridge the existing gap between the Yao who grew up in town and never had time for initiation and those that undergo the initiation rites in the remote areas.

“As Minister of Education, Science and Technology, I’m impressed with the book’s emphasis on the importance of education; the need for respect for others and the call for honesty and love of our country,” Msaka pointed out.

“All these correspond to the three pillars of hard work, integrity and patriotism that the leadership of the country upholds and it’s a book that should be read in every homestead, around the fire and under the moonlight as pre-bed time stories,” he emphasized.

In his remarks, Paramount Chief Kawinga thanked all the Yao chiefs and New Hope Publishers for their role in coming up with the book which he described as: ‘the pride of the Yao.’

On a lighter note, Kawinga said the initiative of coming up with an all-in-one Yao book underscored the biblical story of ‘the wisemen from the east’ saying: ‘as easterners they ought to be wise.’

The publisher, who prefers to be called Mr. Litete (translated Reed in Yao) said he was very excited to be part of the project, which he said, involved a lot of research.

He said having stayed with the Yao for 28 years, he had, over the years, observed the moral erosion characterized by loss of respect for elders, children not going to school and parents having little control over their children.

“People often said indu igalawiche: achinangolo ali mpera wanache, wanache ali mpera achinangolo (meaning things have turned around such that parents are like children and children are like parents) and this inspired me to sit down with the chiefs and see how best we could normalize the situation,” the publisher explained.

The book, Misyungu Jakwiganya Lunda ni Ndamo Syambone, (literally meaning Proverbs that teach wisdom and good morals) is divided into two parts: the first part is about teachings through the word of God and the second part is about teachings through proverbs and moral metaphors taught in Yao culture and tradition.

Through the two parts, the book also touches on how to choose the right partner, disadvantages of early marriages and laziness as some of the social challenges, among other things.

Between 25,000 and 30,000 copies are expected to be printed and the marked price per copy is K200 (Two hundred kwacha) only, making it easily accessible by every household.

Paramount Chief Kawinga of Machinga, Senior Chiefs, TAs and GVHs from three eastern Yao dominated districts of Machinga, Balaka and Mangochi and Mozambican Traditional Authority Matilesi graced the occasion which was conducted in Yao language throughout.

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