Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife, Michael Usi, has described his experience to the Sapitwa Peak as the best way to understanding the importance of Mulanje Mountain as an an important ecological feature.
The minister was speaking on Sunday, August 29, 2021 at the end of a Voice-of-Mulanje-Mountain hiking expedition where he joined South Africa-based Malawian renowned musician, Lawi, and other hikers to Sapitwa Peak on top of Mulanje Mountain and became the first serving cabinet minister to do so.
The minister said Mulanje Mountain is a place of indescribable beauty, which is always oozing with undiscovered fauna and flora, and the only way to understand its spirit is to actually to go there. He told Nyasa Times in an interview that he was extremely happy to have scaled the Sapitwa Peak for the first time and that he will always have a positive story to tell about the highest mountain in Malawi and central Africa because he would be doing so from a position of depth and knowledge.
“Before I came here, I heard various stories of how it is physically taxing to climb Mulanje Mountain let alone reaching the Sapitwa Peak and how so many people have fallen by the wayside trying to make the journey. I am happy that I have now entered the books as one of the people that have reached this summit.
“Although it is true that the journey can be physically challenging, the serenity and beauty that comes with the experience surpasses everything and has the effect of melting the physical challenges,” said the Minister.
He, however, added that it is sad that this outstanding ecological feature has been suffering deterioration due to the deliberate actions of people who engage in outlawed behaviour such as charcoal burning; tilling along the mountain slopes and wanton felling of trees. He said that it is for this reason that, as Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife, he decided to be part of this initiative, which was aimed at bringing awareness to the world of the importance of conserving the mountain.
“I enjoyed being among the people and participating in activities. I enjoyed the music by Lawi; he is an amazing musician. The stories are positive and I learnt a lot from all the great people that were around me on this journey. I was not very sure about whether I had the energy to conquer Sapitwa but I am happy that I made it. This expedition is not only about hiking but also about giving a voice to Mulanje Mountain, and to market it as a feature worth visiting, which all Malawians ought to be proud of and protect,” said the minister.
Usi was an active participant of various activities at the mountain and even started a song, which he hastily composed right at the top of the mountain to the delight of the hikers. Many hikers were also awed at how the minister displayed quick foot and energy during the hiking.
“Many of us thought the minister would be among the slow members, but we were surprised that it was us the young people who had to play catch up most of the times,” said one of the young hikers.
On his part, Lawi, who signed a contract as the Special Ambassador for the mountain with the Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust (MMCT), said he was excited to have reached the summit of Mulanje Mountain whilst fighting for a cause to save the mountain, adding that it was a dream come true to work alongside minister Usi on the initiative.
“We were successful in all our attempts to reach Sapitwa and we, as a united team, worked in synchrony to achieve the set goal.
Being at Sapitwa with Dr Usi was a huge achievement because he is the first cabinet minister in Malawi to ever hike to Sapitwa for a noble cause as big as this one, ” said Lawi.
During the hike, Lawi treated hikers to his music, saying it was an opportune moment to celebrate because going to Sapitwa was a milestone for a good cause, and worth celebrating.
Many hikers from across the country participated in the event including MDF soldiers who constituted the expedition’s rescue team. The department of tourism, Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust, Malawi Gaming Board, Old Mutual, GIZ, Amaryllis Hotel, Malawi Airlines were some of the hiking event’s sponsors.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :