Hey! Ever heard of the phrase “Don’t Mess With Texas”? Well in this day and age, one would expect more people outside USA or Texas USA to know about this phrase. One can find this written on all sorts of souvenir (T-shirts) from the state of Texas in USA. Some of these have actually found their way into our local markets especially the second-hand clothing trade.
Depending on whether you grew up in the town of Zomba in Malawi or you have been around individuals who have lived in Zomba, it is likely that you might have noticed that people from Zomba intimately call the town of Zomba by the name “Texas”.
In case you didn’t know this, Zomba was the capital of Malawi from Nyasaland days until 1975 when the then reigning powers decided that they needed to change the capital to the current Lilongwe. We commend them for one thing; “not tampering with Zomba” as they packed up their “capital furniture”. They left Zomba INTACT. Even though they finally declared that the capital had finally moved to Lilongwe, Zomba still reigned and in some respects it still reigns up to this day. Some things just can’t be moved overnight – some not even over a generation.
Well, it seems quite a significant chunk has been moved but there is more that should never and shall never move out of Zomba. For the fact that it was the capital during colonial time, at independence and during the infant years of the Malawi nation up to 1975, Zomba can lay claim to own most of the historical events that have taken place in Malawi and Nyasaland since the “Partition of Africa”. Name it; all major historic events that ever were, have the setting of or a connection strong to Zomba.
Fast forward to the present day Malawi. I know we are all excited about developing our country; erecting structures and demolishing some along the way but I would like to ask us all to think twice when it comes to Zomba. Please, hear this plea from one of the sons of Zomba:-
“Every inch of Zomba Town must be regarded as part of Malawi’s National Monument. The town (now city) must be preserved and maintained with all its historical structures and tales therein for generations to cherish. The whole of Zomba Town is a grand attraction waiting to be unlocked for the rest of the world to tour and experience a significant part of Malawi’s history. So please Don’t Mess With Zomba“.
So as we satisfy our huge appetite for development, please remember to designate Zomba as the historical gem of Malawi and ensure that whatever we do with this town is towards preserving and maintaining the historical value to Malawi.
So please we beg you, don’t break anything in this town. Evidently the first thing that this town needs is a facelift and restoration of all these historical structures ……..
I will stop here. Hopefully I have made my case. If people really care enough, they will heed this plea. However, in case some will need more convincing then one day I will take them on a turn-by-turn virtual tour of Zomba. Meanwhile, please watch the slideshow below of some pictures taken in September 2011 of some of the historical attractions in Zomba. Grab a few on your way out.
“Don’t Mess With Zomba”.
Fukula Hastings Nyekanyeka
Mayor of Zomba (Until Local Municipal Elections are held)