The Eldest Child Versus The Family’s Only Son

BY: Dan Phale*

A crisis which rocked the Solomons’ family in the recent past is probably the worst. Now and again there was noise of squabbles in the compound. And more often than not such conflicts resulted in fierce fighting among children. Family members thus became a regular subject of gossip and fun across the community… Let’s find out more.

About five decades ago, Solomon got married to a lady of his youth in his own community. After a year or so, they were blessed with a child; it was a girl child. The two were averagely happy. However, as per their culture, a man ought to have a son so that after his death he would be the custodian and in charge of all his legacy. Without a son, matrilineal people would grab the deceased property from the bereaved household.

My wife,” Solomon said to Brenda one morning as they were in their field, busy taking good care of their crop plants. “I know that you know what our traditional custom stipulates about a need for a couple to have a son family.”

Yes, my dear husband, I’m very much aware of this traditional requirement,” Brenda commented, somehow puzzled, and she continued, “This topic surprises me. Else, you must be up to something, Solomon, I suppose…”

But Solomon interrupted her, saying, “It is not that I’m up to something strange here. It’s about you and me, and our entire household. It’s about the future of our family… You know our first born child is a girl, and we are supposed to have a boy who shall be responsible for the custodianship and management of the deceased property when I am died and buried.”

Don’t worry my husband. Just like I’ve told you countless times, I’ll give you a male child. In fact, I have a good news for you, which I was intending to tell you at the right time tonight in our bedroom as a beloved husband and a wife. But for the very reason that you have initiated the topic here, I should disclose it right here and now. The good news I’m talking about is that I’m carrying the second child, and I’ve been reliably told by the prophet that it’s a boy.”

Having heard this from his wife, Solomon was all smiles. He then jumped up and down with great pleasure… In fact, he became hysterical to the extent that he was too quick to suggest that his son would be called Solomon Junior… And when the gestation period was over Solomon’s wife went to the maternal clinic. Such was a very crucial moment because she gave birth to a baby girl. The fact that the so-called prophecy was proved to be a false prophecy irked him much more; it was like an insult which worsened the relationship in his house. Instead of praising and thanking God for giving them a baby, his mouth vented curses against the heavens. Furthermore, he challenged his wife that he would rather marry the second or third wife until a time when he would have a son.

Fulfilling his words, he took the second wife and brought him to the compound. Finally a baby boy was born, lifting high Solomon’s spirits. But the worst events were yet to unfold, following his son’s birth. It happened that soon after a son was born, the polygamist ordered his first wife to vacate the house they had been living together and to relocate to the other house which was not in a very habitable condition. In his wisdom, he did this for the purpose of letting his second wife and the son to come into house.

The second wife gave birth to the second child; this time being a girl who is the last born child. Solomon had a negative attitude towards his first wife and, of course, his first two daughters. Most of the times he spent his free time with his son; as such he got the lion’s share of his fatherly care and love as the most favourite of all children.

It happened one day that there was a fight among the children as a result of a conflict which bordered on the issue of who was to sweep around the compound. Their mothers attempted to stop the fight but failed. When he came out of the house, Solomon was highly concerned, and he collapsed… He was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. In fact he died of hypertension.

The sudden death of Solomon Senior was followed by a series of horrible times in the compound as the first child struggled against Solomon Junior over control and management of the family property. In fact Junior could not allow anybody to push him from his traditionally conferred position in the entire polygamous family, whereas the first child – also being the one born from the first marriage – didn’t want to be treated as a trespasser in the compound.

relationship continued in the family until such a time when the ghost of the late Solomon Senior appeared to the disagreeing children in a dream each one night. The ghost that looked highly troubled confessed that it was his own fault when he was still alive to instill hostile feelings in their minds against each other by according them unequal fatherly care and love. The remorseful ghost also advised them to reconcile and enhance harmony, love and peace among themselves. Upon waking up Solomon Junior and his elder sister reconciled. Since then, all the family members are united and staying peacefully.


Let The Children Attain Bright Future

BY: Dan Phale *

One of my colleagues, Gerald Namisisi, who also happens to be my bosom friend, is a musician. I never knew this until two weeks ago when he shared with me one of his songs which is entitled Ana asukulu. In English it can well be translated as school children… The song is aimed at disseminating a very appealing message to all adults who are devoid of good humane feelings and behaviour towards little children.

In his song, Gerald begins by telling the listeners that he has been sent by the children. It must be generally construed that he is sent because of children are one of the vulnerable groups of human beings in the entire world, and this fact is indisputable. He proceeds to ask why on earth an woman, a man, as well as a teacher would want to be in love with a young girl or a young boy, or indecently assault the young girl or a boy… Then the musician who is also a police officer humbly relays a message from the school children not to arbitrarily interfere with their freedom and right to education.

Well, having listened to the song, I have become addicted to it so that I don’t spend a day without playing it. In fact it has become the most favourite song in my library, and at the time when I was considering publishing this article I was repeatedly listening to it.

Yes, it is very sad to take notice of the fact that most adults are driven by the insatiable lust to have sexual intimacy and/or intercourse with little children. Others have even reached an alarming extent of abducting or trafficking little children in order to achieve sexual satisfaction. The most painful reality is that all the abducted or trafficked children are exposed to indescribable trauma in various ways, which include among others, contracting sexually transmitted infections. And the scar is psychologically indelible. Some are even murdered by the perpetrators as way of preventing a disclosure of the ordeal.

Actually it is common knowledge that children are the future leaders of the world. The wise folks in my country – Malawi – say that “A child is a child of everyone.” Let us empower them both educationally and morally so that they will grow into responsible adults. Let us protect them for the sake of the future generation.

By the very virtue of the foregoing I strongly urge for such laws with the most deterrent and retributive penalties for the perpetrators of such barbaric and irresponsible conducts. All the justice administration agents, and of course everybody, must tirelessly work hand in hand in order to curb the vice. A stitch in time saves nine… It is now or never.

Beauty Contest Is Undesirable

BY: Dan Phale*

According to the old wise folks in my homeland beauty is an empty calabash. Surely the only thing which beauty holds is pride; and pride only goes the length that one can spit. It is in this view that I hereby present my strong argument against the notion of beauty contests.

Let me begin by saying that I have never been – and shall most unlikely be – convinced as to why really some people do organise and/or conduct, or participate in, what they term as beauty contest or beauty pageant. Except that what I mostly observe is an exhibition of nudity in the public, and nothing important. Usually the contest focuses on judging and ranking the physical attributes of the ladies; and sometimes it is based on their personality traits, intelligence, talents, and answers to the Judges’ questions in an interview.

Secondly, I feel all the inclination to, and I hereby, draw the attention of all and sundry to a biblical philosophy that any person was created by, and in the image of, one God, as per Genesis 1: 27. And for purposes of English language, an antonym of a word beautiful is ugly. In this regard the implication is that the objective of the beauty contests is to single out the beautiful ladies from the ugly ones. Now look, if one lady is singled out and crowned as the Queen of beauty, then who will be the Queen of the ugly ladies? Ironically the one God who created us all does not have two different images, the one which beautiful and the other one which is ugly. In all the wisdom, I find the whole idea of having beauty contests to be very irrational, inhumane, and discriminatory. Oh yes…!

Now let us look at some of the issues that are involved in the process of searching for the socalled Queen of beauty. Actually the process leaves quite a lot to be desired. Ladies longing for a title and crown are subjected to various examinations, two of which are what are in this article. The contestants are paraded, whereby each one catwalks, sexily swaying her hip. And what baffles me most is the fact that more often than not the contesting ladies do put on scanty clothes which would not be recommended or accepted by my late grandparents who were the strong defenders and advocates of our cultural values… I mean, it is absurd to suggest that a lady’s nakedness be a measure of her beauty. In a sharp contrast, scanty dressing is a factor which gradually triggers moral indecency among the youths. In other words, nakedness and beauty are two different issues altogether.

Additionally it sounds very funny to witness a lady being interviewed by the so-called judges on issues that are not at pal with beauty… I remember having laughed my lungs out one day a few months ago when I watched on one of the popular television stations where irrelevant issues arose.

What is your highest qualification, young lady?” one judge asked.

Im a degree holder in social science studies,” the young lady answered proudly.

Why do you want to become a Queen of beauty in this country?” the second judge asked.

Let me assure this board that I shall ensure that I and my fellow youths should contribute towards social and economic development of our country if I am crowned Queen of beauty.”

Kkkkkkkkk, the impression here is that without emerging victorious in the beauty contest that young lady would not take part in the social and economic endeavours of her country,” I laughed before switching off the television.

Of course somebody may attempt to defend the notion of staging beauty contests on a mere basis of a long historical background, citing beauty festivals which were celebrated in the ancient world during the medieval era… Nonetheless, we don’t have to emulate such practices that are more likely to weaken our human dignity in terms of cultural and moral merits.

In effect these contests have the viability to make people have wrong perception that girls and women should be valued principally for their physical appearance. Furthermore this idea exerts great psychological pressure on ladies to conform to the conventional beauty standards as set by the organisers of the contests. As such ladies are prompted to spend unnecessary amount of money and time on fashion, cosmetics, and hairdos in an attempt to adorn themselves. At times ladies are negatively influenced to go for slimming therapeutic programs to the extent of harming their own health.

In a nutshell, a beauty contest is undesirable everywhere. Otherwise beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.

The King In Dilemma

By: Dan Phale*

It is not a hidden secret that a ruler feels being at the top of life with his subjects showering abundant glory, honour, and praises at him, and giving him different gifts which are intended to buy favours from him in turn… And all is well when the king’s reign is under such circumstances that would not erode peace from his palace because it is such peace that is expected to flood over to the entire territory. As a matter of fact there are quite several factors which intricately influence peace and stability in the kingdom.

Here is a story of Chidule, a man who is not only a polygamist, but also a King for the Chidule clan of people. He lives together with his two wives, Lilian and Agatha, at the royal palace. Lilian is the first wife whereas Agatha is the second; and in accordance with their culture, in the event that the King marries more than one wife the first one is automatically the first lady, otherwise a Queen. In fact Lilian is married to the king for well over three years but has been barren to give birth to a Prince while Agatha has been the king’s second wife for two years only and is a mother of a son born to the king.

In this case Chidule has an uphill to climb following a very difficult situation which has so far given rise to a tension in the palace as the two wives have been at loggerheads all the times, scrambling for a status of a Queen. One day last year Lilian and Agatha picked a fierce quarrel with each other.

Agatha, why do you often address me in a disrespectful manner as if you don‘t know that I am a Queen in this kingdom?” asked Lilian angrily.

Shame on you…! How does a kings barren wife come to be called a Queen?” argued Agatha with a tone of ridicule.

How dare you contend with me, Agatha? Don’t you know I am the kings first wife?

A fight broke and this resulted in each sustaining injuries. And when the news was brought to the attention of the King, a solution had to be found. So after some deliberations the royal council unanimously agreed that Lilian should be given a grace period of one more year, while Agatha was given the last caution against being disrespectful in any way to the first wife.

The decision gave Lilian a chance to think of a way out of the ordeal.

I think I am only paying the price of a series of abortions which I carried out when I was a young unmarried lady…” Lilian accused herself, adding, “However this is my opportunity to do something.”

She secretely bought materials to be putting on with a purpose of blindfolding the King that he should think that she had now conceived. Simultaneously she conspired with a certain doctor to produce a fake medical report in support of this, insinuating that because of some reproductive complications she should not make love with the King until the time of delivery. In getting this, the King felt quite ecstatic that the palace would no longer have a similar controversy.

At the expiry of nine months, Lilian sneaked away from the palace and went to a certain hospital, walked into the maternity ward and stole therein a baby boy that she took to the palace. And the clueless King was all smiles, while Agatha maintained that she was the first to give the King a son hence deserving to be called the Queen. Very ecstatic on the one hand, and annoyed on the other, the King was prompted to evict Agatha, little knowing what life had in store for him and the entire land.

Sooner than later, police officers came to the palace and apprehended Lilian for the offence of child stealing, for somebody spotted her in the hospital committing the offence… At the moment Chidule is in dilemma as to whether to remarry Agatha or take a new wife. He knows that a home without a mother is like a desert, and the kingdom needs to have a heir. In fact he feels that he hastily evicted Agatha from the palace.

The Sexual Hyena Man

By: Dan Phale*

For purpose of this post, the word hyena does not refer to the wild animal which you know that eats the carrion of the dead animals – no. Rather it has the meaning of a man hired or engaged in order to deflower a young girl who has had her first menstrual period to initiate her into womanhood; or a man hired or engaged to help a couple have a baby; or a man hired to sexually cleanse a widow from misfortune or sudden death.

In the year just ending Malawians were awakened to one astonishing raw reality in which a man called Eric Aniva came to spotlight as having performed ritual sexual intercourse with one hundred and four (104) girls and women in his life.

Engaged for some payments, this hyena man has had unprotected sexual intercourse with such a number of girls and women for the so called cleansing purposes. And the most distasteful fact is that the hyena man is reportedly said to be HIV positive which he never disclosed to the hiring parties at the moment he was engaged for the so-called cultural sexual cleansing ceremony.

Now, come to imagine the potential risk of transmitting the deadly incurable virus to the one hundred and four girls and women he fornicated with in the name of culture… What a great deadly impact this would have? How about the related challenges that come with the HIV/Aids pandemic?

Thanks to the criminal justice system that the hyena man is serving a penalty for indulging in harmful practices likely to endanger human life. But that is sufficient!

Need For Support:

Admittedly we have to clap hands in praising some people of good will and other non governmental organisations for complementing the national leadership’s efforts to uproot this harmful practice in the country. Otherwise our land would become a desolate one day.

However, based on the fact that the girls did not wilfully consent to such harmful cultural practice, it is a naked truth that they may be faced with a psychological trauma following the spreading of the news in the media, more so owing to the risk of contracting HIV in the light of unprotected sex as confessed by the hyena man himself.

Suffice to mention here and now that there may be many more females who have had fallen prey to such a deadly cultural custom. All these require support of some kind.

I thus hereby beseech you that after reading this article, please, you have to do something in a bid to boost their self esteem, psychologically, materially, spiritually, financially, and of course educationally.

Whirlwind In The Palace

By: Dan Phale*

Several decades ago there was a kingdom which lied in a very highly cultured rural setup. A king was, unless otherwise, to be succeeded by his son upon death; and he was assisted by the council composed of the elderly people whose deliberations formed a very important part in decision making.

Grecian was married to a very well mannered woman. And both were known for being a good King and Queen respectively with referrence to being amiable, considerate and generous couple. By virtue of these attributes almost everyone loved them. Certainly good leaders are accepted and/or loved based on the common interest of the people they serve.

In spite of all such merry moments the people had with their King, there was one problem of immeasurable magnitude. The Queen was barren, so could not give birth to the King’s or kingdom’s heir. To this effect the council met the King one day to discuss a way forward.

“Your Highness,” began the council leader “it is too obvious that everyone likes you in this kingdom because of your good leadership. In fact, history says you are the best King the land has had.”

“Thank you very much for your complement,” the King smiled approvingly.

“But we, in the council, appear before you at this hour in order to discuss something with you,” another elder added. “Your Magesty, you are quite aware of the fact that this land has bylaws which regulate succession of the throne. The King’s son is the heir for the throne, and on reasonable grounds the King’s brother may become the one. However the latter is always a source of big problems among the people. Unfortunately five years down the line you don’t have a son…”

Finally the council unanimously settled on the idea that one of the palace maids be taken to be the King’s second wife. In this regard Madalo, the most beautiful of all maids became the King’s second wife. After a little while she conceived… She gave birth to a baby boy.

Jealousy At Its Level:

“Should I let this happen in my face?” Misozi groaned to her lone self, wrestling with a storm of egocentrism in her bossom. “Otherwise it is an insult not only to me but even to our tradition because I am older than she is… I’m entitled to get married first…”
Misozi found a way. She hired a ruffian to help bring confusion in the King’s mind. She gave him Madalo’s contact phone number. This was at a time when there was all the stability and peace in the palace.

It happened that the King was comfortably chatting with Madalo in their bedroom, a baby boy in their presence. The heir’s mother received a phone call.

Hallo, this is Madalo answering.”

I want my son,” the caller said with a course voice without revealing his identity.

Which son are you talking about? Andwho are you? Where are you calling from?” The heir’s mother got visibly upset.

“What is going on?” Gracian asked, curious. Madalo, gripped with ardent shock, was unable to respond to the King’s question except to say that she would handle it. And a call – another call –  several calls came. All Madalo could do was to cut the line. Little did she know that it would seem as though the claim on phone was true.

In the same breath Misozi abruptly got into the room. She said,”Madalo, I’m told the baby’s father is calling you but you are cutting the line… Why?”

Such insinuations were sufficient enough to add pepper on the wound. She continued to allege that Madalo’s exlover was the father of the baby.

The King was too confused to control himself. He gave an order that Madalo be evicted from the palace. His mind then settled for Misozi as the truthful woman he could trust. Oh,  what a poor unwise decision kings can make at times! He ought to have instituted inquiries and/or investigation through his council as to the truth of the claims on the ground.

Soon after taking Misozi as his second wife, another fate followed the King. Misozi became pregnant but miscarried before long. And in a bid to hide this from the king she coaxed a bodyguard to make love with her so that she could conceive again. Alas! The two were caught in the process of committing adultery but the bodyguard managed to run away. 

On conviction by the council the selfish Misozi was allowed to mitigate.

She said, “I hereby confess to you elders that I fabricated the story that Madalo’s baby was fathered by her exlover. And when I was taken as the King’s second wife I conceived but I miscarried; and I didn’t want this to be known by the king because I feared He would deem me unclean. So, I persuaded the bodyguard to make love with me with an aim of conceiving again.

Finally the jealousy Misozi was ordered to be hung to death as per the kingdom’s bylaws.