Malawi

Recently, the number of Malawians creating their own blogs has increased sharply. In order to keep track of Malawian blogs, Dr. Steve Sharra has created a cluster of blogs that focus on Malawi and Malawians. I encourage all folks whose blogs fit this category to check if their blogs are included in the cluster. If they are not, then please make sure that you submit your URL so that your blog is included. Dr. Sharra has also created a google group for Malawian bloggers, netizens and others who use citizen media from a Malawian perspective. If you want to join this group, you can contact me and I will pass your details to Dr. Sharra or you can apply for membership online .

It is encouraging to see the Malawi blogosphere is growing. But I am not impressed with its level of activity. Many people do not write regularly. For in stance, folks like Caleb Phiri who started with a bang are nowhere to be seen. Of course, we are not expected to make postings on daily basis because that would be too much work. As part-time blogger, personally, I stick to a minimum of one post per week. If I have more time and ideas, I can post more. But I am always satisfied with at least one post per week.

Readers on the net are always looking for new stuff. If your blog’s content is not fresh, they will stop visiting it. The other issue is that a blog that is not regularly updated will not be regularly crawled (i.e. have its content discovered and indexed) by search engines. In effect, every time you post to your blog, search engines will visit it, boosting your website’s search engine ranking, thereby giving it more visibility in the ever crowded blogosphere. Therefore, blogs that are not regularly updated will lose readership and eventually die.

Out of close to 80 blogs in the Mabloga cluster, only 16 have been updated in the past three weeks. Here is a list of bloggers (not in any particular order) who have posted at least one post in past three weeks:

  1. Austin Madinga – He is one of the first Malawi bloggers. Actually, he is one of the people who inspired me to start blogging. In his most recent post, he writes about the death of Inkosi Gomani IV.
  2. Thandi Soko – She calls her blog “Buckaroo Thandi”. In her most recent post, she comments on a statement made by a woman official who recently said that prostitutes can no longer be referred to as “sex workers”. In stead, they should be referred to as “people who frequent public places”.
  3. Chifundo Tenthani – A collegue from the Malawi Polytechnic who writes about his experiences in Dubai, where he went to buy vehicles.
  4. Daniso Mapiri– A very interesting blogger whom I got to know just recently. He enjoys his blogging. In his most recent post, he talks about his birthday.
  5. Dr. Khumbo Kalua – He is a medical doctor with 3 post graduate medical degrees in additional to his basic medical degree (M.B.B.S). I really enjoy reading his articles. In his most recent post, he reports that over 120 people have their eye sight restored in Zomba and Machinga districts in Malawi. Glory to God :).
  6. Joe Mlenga – We have never met physically, but we are good friends. In his most recent post, he talks about Mr Matabwa, a serious and dedicated police officer in Blantyre. In the same post, he talks about how the old guard and those without higher qualifications are making it difficult for younger graduates to secure employment in Malawi.
  7. Kondwani Munthali – He is a journalist by profession. In his most recent post, he writes about the Ghaddafi UN comedy, witchcraft and reality.
  8. Jessie Kabwila-Kapasula – She is a lecturer at Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi, but currently reading towards her PhD in USA. In her most recent article, she has posted a letter written by Vivian Stromberg, MADRE Executive Director, to President Barack Obama. In her earlier post, she mourns the mysterious death of Mr Ishmael Chafukira, who was a member of parliament for Lilongwe North West.
  9. Kondwani Kamiyala – He is a graphic designer. He has written a long post about Dr. David Livingstone.
  10. Lilongwe Writers Circle – Theirs is a new blog where they feature poems and different types of articles written by different authors. Their most recent article is a poem entitled “Now what”.
  11. Malawi Digest – This is a recent political blog. I find the owners to be more pro-government. Even their blog’s background color can tell. In their recent post, they report that Professor Mathews Chikaonda, the Chief Executive Officer for one of Malawi’s leading conglomerate organizations, Press Corporations Limited has come under serious scrutiny following a donation of MK25 million worth dialysis machine to a lucrative healthy facility, the Mwaiwathu Private Hospital.
  12. Fingani Mphande – She gives a Malawian’s perspective on day to day living in and outside Malawi.In her most recent post, she asks if there is a future for a Malawian girl child?
  13. Victor Kawonga – He is my senior and, of course, my friend from many years back. In his recent post, he announces that he will be serving as a mentor on a Global Change project in partnership with Global Voices for which he authors.
  14. Vincent Kumwenda – I knew him recently. He is very active on Twitter. In his most recent post, he writes about the Malawian media and the Internet.
  15. William Kamkwamba – This a young Malawian student and inventor. He created a windmill to generate electricity for his family after dropping out of school due to failure to pay school fees when he was 14. He used  such components as blue-gum trees, bicycle parts, and materials collected in a local scrapyard. Mike McKay blogged about him. And courtesy of Mike’s post, he was invited to attend the TED conference in Tanzania. Since then he has inspired thousands and thousands of people. In his recent post, he reports that he and Bryan Mealer were on the U.S. morning news show Good Morning America yesterday. Brian Mealer is his co-author on his book entitled The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, which comes out today. I already have a copy, generously sent to me by TED’s Tom Rielly.
  16. Mike McKay – Though he no longer stays in Malawi, I still consider him as one of us. He contributed a lot to the development of the Malawi blogosphere while he was working for Baobab Health Partnership. In his most recent post, he writes about William Kamkwamba’s amazing ascent.

Malawian bloggers, let us keep on blogging. Of course, I understand that we have Internet problems back home. But we can do better. If the likes of Mike, Soyapi etc. did not blog about William, people out there would not have known his story. I know that there are people like William in Malawi. Let us bring them up.