Malawian men. Yes I give you a lot of stick, but you make it so easy for me. I mean the woes of the Malawian woman are many, and 90% of them can be attributed to you.
Where to start? Due to unfortunate perceptions that have endured over time, the birth of a Malawian male child is more celebrated than that of its female counterpart. Doting mothers and proud fathers treat this male child with more love and attention than any sisters he may have- by letting him have the bigger piece of ndiwo (you know they do), excluding him from doing any chores (‘eeee ama konda ku sewela tu!’) and paying more attention to his schoolwork. This child becomes accustomed to having females attend to his every need- preparing the food and serving HIM first and doing all the cleaning up afterwards (including pouring water for HIM, while he washes his hands). Ok, so maybe this is the village scenario, but it still infiltrates into the ‘town’ boy’s psyche because you know when he goes back home he gets that special treatment.
This excessive pampering and imbalance of sibling expectation leads to the average Malawian male growing up with a sense of superiority and entitlement, which in most cases, is severely undeserved. Most Malawian males therefore end up chauvinistic lay-abouts who drink kachasu at ‘drinking joints’ and play bao all day while the woman goes to the farm and tills the soil. Ok so maybe that’s in the village- in ‘town’ the men end up slightly better, at least they work. Spend their whole salary on booze though. And brag about it to their mates. In fact, drinking is the main topic of conversation. People spend hours on end talking about how much they drank last night or the night before, they even appropriate respect according to how much a guy can drink.
What, pray tell, has this got to do with fashion you ask. Well this sense of self-absorption and smugness by virtue of being male means most men around Blantyre wear what ever they want and think they look fab. Short ties over protruding bellies. Football shirts and pleated slacks. Boat shoes (yes i’ve been here before!)
I sound bitter, I know, but that’s because it shouldn’t be that way! There are men out there ladies! Men who you can have conversations with and learn something new from, men who when you look at them, look like they mean business.
Regard this well dressed gent above- pink shirt, pocket square, some cheeky red-bottoms, funky glasses. You won’t see a Malawian exec at Chileka airport dressed like that, alas he probably be by the bar, guzzling a green. Even with casual wear, the difference is vast-
I dare you to go to Nkopola, and find a man looking as well put together as this guy, with his electric blue jeans rolled up just so and his matching plaid shirt. If you do, please, send me pics!!
Despite obvious protestations that might be made about money and exposure, it is possible to look good on a budget. Check out this Malawian guy below, who works as a guard looking great at a afternoon barbecue
He proves income need not be a barrier to making an effort and looking good (the beer is also excused- it was a barby after all!). He’s got on his trendy military jacket and rasta belt, looking all cheeky. I mean most of the guys pitched up like this:
Schooner fest! All said and done, one doesn’t even need to make a huge effort. Throw on and jumper and jeans- just make sure they fit and aren’t actually from the early 90’s:
I realise I have been somewhat hard on you my Malawian brothers, and I apologize to all those that work hard and treat women equally (and by default- dress well!). As I have highlighted there are some out there who do manage to pull things off.. Its just that the vast majority are letting you down. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again- Malawian men, step up your game.