Five Reasons to Experience Authentic Ethiopian Culture in Blantyre

Mar 19

One of the best known non-Malawian, but still African, cultural experiences in Blantyre, is some authentic Ethiopian hospitality.

Alem Ethiopian used to be located on Victoria Avenue in the centre of town. There they had a restaurant. However, Alem have not gone far and although they no longer operate a restaurant, with some advance planning, you can still experience and enjoy an Ethiopian cultural experience. It was with this thought in mind, and some advance planning (the reasons for which will soon be revealed), that we headed out to learn some more. Why should we experience authentic Ethiopian culture in Malawi?


Ethiopia has intruiged me ever since I first changed planes in Addis Ababa on the way to Malawi. When even a modern airport offers a glimpse of an ancient civilization one comprehends that there must be something fascinating to uncover. It is not just the long history of Ethiopia but it’s separation and...

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The Kwa Haraba Arts Cafe

Mar 8

The Kwa Haraba Arts Cafe has a pleasant outlook across to Nyambadwe Hill. For the sunny and warm day today I have the right mix of sun, shade and breeze with some chilled music emerging from the cafe behind me. As the location is at the back of the building looking out, we are away from the noise of Glyn Jones Road on the other side. It's the right combination for a good first impression.

For some time I have been meaning to visit the Kwa Haraba Arts Cafe in the centre of Blantyre. For the location, I think it hits the spot for a quiet and relaxing drink and perhaps some reading or writing.

Talking of reading, one of the first things I noticed was the full bookshelf. I asked and seemingly they are for sale rather than reading with your coffee. Having stocked up on coffee before I left home this morning I have opted for one of their exotic fruit juices.

If I decide I like this place then perhaps I will work my way through the menu. The fresh juices certainly look...

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Understanding - How Lifestyle Affects Time

Nov 23

Blog Series on Time

1. Understanding - How Lifestyle Affects Time

This article will look mainly at the implications of the closeness of a community and the patters of interactions, as a way of understanding how people view time. The frequency of chance face to face encounters is significant.

How should someone new to or visiting Malawi cope with some of the differences between life in 'the west' and life in Malawi? Although relevant for visitors and tourists this is perhaps even more important for people who wish to work in Malawi. A lot of westerners who do work in Malawi come here for a short period of time to work on a project...

One difference that is often commented on is time.

My answer to the first question above, the first sentence in this blog post, is that the first thing to do when it comes to handling cultural or societal differences is to understand why there are differences. The reason for this is that if you understand why things are different your...

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Tags: Time, Culture

Some Random Thoughts on Chichewa

Nov 17

What kind of language is Chichewa?

Well, an introductory paragraph for a very early book written by one of the missionaries springs to mind. He describes it as something like an elegant and subtle language. Another aspect I discussed recently with one of our language students was how it is like a set of codes that you put together in a logical manner. The root verbs, prefixes, infixes and suffixes are like different parts of a computer programme that each carry out different commands (have different meanings) and then once you know them you can them together to bring about various meanings. In other words with regards to verbs you put together the different components to make one word in the way you put together words in a sentence in English. In other words a word can carry the meaning of a whole sentence or a significant part of a sentence.

The grammar surrounding nouns (noun classes), is difficult. As one expat who speaks the language pointed out – you don’t...

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