Is the Malawi boy child out of the picture?

Malawi is one of the roughest and most difficult place to live in—it tallies to the common saying that if you can survive here the odds of thriving elsewhere are high. Life, especially for boys and young men is stamped by an unending struggle to see a good upbringing. In fact, with the new era, the hustles of a boy child, born in the African but Malawian soil in particular, starts from the day of conception.

Two boys walk to school along a rural road near Kanyemba, in northern Malawi

The boy child at the age of five years is considered a fighter; they can hustle and tussle to make it through without equal opportunities, support, guidance and protection shoveled to the counterparts. What a pity! `

It so logical to attribute low school attendance of children to long distances of walking but it is erroneous to use it to advantage one gender. A boy child of similar age is also susceptible to similar challenges, but who cares? The boy child has been forgotten, he has been cropped out of the picture.

Malawi, evidence has it that primary, secondary and not sparing tertiary education has registered more male dropouts in the past ten years. The statistics are supposed to scare everyone but to my surprise all we do is raise eyebrows and shun away like a scared rabbit.

In my community, there was an outcry of a victimized 14-year-old boy by an elder woman who forced him to indulge in sexual activity. The boy was immediately condemned and shown gates of hell for defamation. Even the chief failed to acknowledge sodomy over the boy.

Similar stories though on a smaller scale happen over the country but they are masked by unbelieving top officials. Boys being sodomized and all society has done is look the other way, hoping the cases will succumb a natural death.

The damage impacted on victimized boys is just the same as the normal rape that everyone spits saliva over. Actually, the difference is only a question of semantics but the feeling of desolation, devaluation, worthlessness and powerlessness that clamp the victims cannot be translated into words.

In my village in lower Shire, at the age of seven, the boy child is introduced to grazing cattle and goats, introduced to farming in big farms of WA-ZUNGU, introduced to begging in the streets, etc. If you would walk in the streets at night who do you think you are more likely to bump into?

These directionless male children prefer the streets to beg for money or rummage in garbage heaps in the city suburbs (kuntaya) to collect empty Frozy bottles to sell and earn money.

Because of unequal opportunities, support and guidance the young men are being lost. Chronic alcoholism is preying on them especially in the ghettos in the watchful eyes of the community leaders and authorities.

In Kenya for instance women held public demonstrations calling upon the government to intervene and save their men from alcohol consumption.

Because the nations, Malawi in particular have neglected the male child, they have been enslaved by the bottle and the cigar of marijuana and certainly will forget to develop their responsibilities as bread winners and protectors of families. Well, the government will still shovel the blame on them without reflecting on what the community and the government sowed.

Boys and young men are whipped with a hot iron rod in the name of gender equality, but gender equality needs to be equal-equal in the sense that there is no view of one gender being weaker than the other. Equality ceases to be equal when there is allocation of resources on one side of the balance than the other.

In my village where I attended my primary school, there was never an organization focusing on the male child—none. No any program intending to mentor and give direction to the boy child, all we knew was to rush to the football ground. The male child is blurred on the picture.

Why should the boy child of today suffer because historically the other gender was marginalized? Are we not creating discrepancies that would need future refinement?

Because the young men are without support, direction, guidance and mentorship, they turned into chained-smokers, alcohol addicts and school leavers. They are the same young men who contribute to the increase in the number of school pregnancy dropouts.

Both genders need to be educated and mentored. It is wrong to assume that boys know their natural need to be educated and to grow up with good behaviors. We will be wrong as Malawi if we give divided attention and forget that tomorrow will come when we will need the boys to become men.

When women and children look at a man, what they want to see is security, ability to provide and responsibility. However, very little if none is being done to mold the boy child to grow up into this ideal man that the community expects.

There is need for more programs, organizations, and the government to come out as mentors for both boy and girl child and not only using them as political party toys. There is a need to guide and teach them of what is expected of them as they grow up into men. We need to build the ideal man for our increasingly educated girls.

We need to transform the boys into independent “Men of Tomorrow” through their sheer efforts. After all we all need them.

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This article is utter nonsense. Boys are born previleged and we need to change this bias. They don’t go to fetch water, firewood, clean the house and look after children. The average girl-child goes to school whilst there are pressing demands on her in terms of household chores. The same with a lot of women in both urban and rural areas. By the way, this is while men go drinking their money and sleeping with prostitutes. But things are changing. We now realise that the status of boys and men has been exaggerated all along. If you go into a… Read more »

The article is very good and logical,but full of totology, repetition and hamdrum.

Truth be said; Malawian political leaders have bred and are probably still breeding, a nation of mulnutritioned children who will grow up with low self esteem, uneducated, unskilled, low cognitive & analytical skills and unemployable. It is this sea of young disillusioned voters that current political parties love to manipulate and abuse as they see fit. Its the biggest asset they desperately need…..their votes. The more they breed these disillusioned kids the better. Unfortunately for Malawi the crop of educated population is so small to effect any tangible political changes desperately needed. However, I believe that the few pockets of… Read more »

I have liked this article 100%. I have always been thinking…why is GBV mostly perpetuated by men? The answer is in this article. The girls are highly favoured and protected whilst the boys are left out in the cold. The boys are watching with anger boiling inside them as they know that nobody cares for them. When they get married, thy take it as their time to revenge on the girl who was mostly favoured. It is our responsibility as men to take responsibility and mentor our boys…..


What a silly argument that girls and women are favoured. Gender based violence is perpetuated by boys and men because (1) culturally, society advances the wrong notion that boys and men are superior beings and therefore OWN girls and women (2) economically, men are mostly breadwinners (educated and working) and they use this high economic status to abuse girls and women (3) religion encourages the notion that men are superior beings. This is now changing albeit slowly becuase women are now getting educated and becoming economically independent.


You have hit the nail on the head, the onus is on the authority to wake up!


But the authorities have created the disabling environment for these innocent kids. I look at David Banda with Madonna and strongly feel that, if our boys in the village were given the same chance, they would become Engineers, Scientists, Innovators, Technologists, Doctors, Lawyers etc. In Malawi, under the current environment, they will die poor and disillusioned most likely from hospitals that don’t have drugs. .

Educated Northerner
Jerousy down, well scribbled. Let’s join hands males & act. Let’s make head of the families who will make the women enjoy to stay with. Let us make leaders who won’t cashgate at all in the future. Most of gender NGOs are led by Azibambo. Is it hard to believe that they are hard core prostitutes who love working with & for females rather than striving to balance the very same thing they are advocating. Hypocrites. Apa satolapo kanthu olo dontho. Instead of going for change, they will cook for a well calculated & appetitizing excuse and make idoits believe.

Don’t forget that we now live in a world where one needs to have education and skills. So, instead of men complaining, just get an education and skills. The problem is amuna ambiri are incapable of doing these things and get angry when a woman is excelling. Amunatu akuonekera ng’amba because a lot of them are chaff (madeya).

You have identified a problem; however, I do not think that you have identified a solution. You say: ‘There is need for more programs, organizations, and the government to come out as mentors for both boy and girl child and not only using them as political party toys. There is a need to guide and teach them of what is expected of them as they grow up into men.’ Such programs are invariably intermittent, under-resourced, and unable to produce the desired results because they do not address the real problem. The guiding and teaching of our sons should not be… Read more »

The problem is that we still rely on the extended-family to act as a safety net. Unfortunately, extended-family responsibilities are no longer recognized by most people, and the strong nuclear-family concept has not developed yet.

M Sizini

Isn’t it strange that we are willing to pay little more than lip-service to the needs of the socially and economically disadvantaged and the mentally and physically disabled, yet we are willing to elect the morally disadvantaged and disabled to the highest offices in the land?

Boys and girls (the youths ) wake up !! Don’t put in positions people who are supposed to be in NURSING HOMES You are our future leaders and that future is NOW !! When given a chance to choose /elect leaders ;please !please! elect leaders who will take you to higher levels , please !!! Look now when you finish school NO job NO capital The government as main employer can’t employ or promote anymore WHY ?? The YOUTHS Choose to Sell their birthrights for short-term things like a packet of chibaki and the like Spoiling the whole future !!

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