Pilirani Semu-Banda

Watering Malawi’s farms

Malwi's irrigation programme, which began in January, is already showing signs of success and is encouraging crop diversification.

Malawians complain about foreign traders

Nadège Shabani, a refugee from Burundi, is a successful businesswoman plying her trade in Malawi's capital, Lilongwe. She owns a thriving beauty salon, restaurant and a clothes shop. She is an example of the foreigners who are being accused of ''taking away'' business opportunities from locals.

Informal trade crucial for jobs

Every day a bus, usually packed to capacity, leaves Malawi for South Africa. Most of the passengers are traders, off to sell wooden curios in the main South African cities of Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. A few stop in Harare, Zimbabwe, with pieces of cloth and food products such as flour and sugar. From South Africa, the traders bring back items of clothing, shoes, electronics and personal accessories.

Malawi up in arms over lucrative uranium mine

Malawi will have its first-ever modern mining project located in the northern town of Kayelekera in Karonga by early next year if plans by an Australian mining company, Paladin (Africa), are successful. However, controversy has been dogging the project since its hatching stages.

Malawi suffers as politicians feud

The African adage that ''when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers'' is currently particularly apt in Malawian politics. The fall-out and subsequent power struggle between the country's two foremost leaders -- President Bingu wa Mutharika and his predecessor, Bakili Muluzi -- have detrimentally affected one specific group of people: poverty stricken citizens.

Life gets tougher in Malawi

Grace Kafere is tired. She has been on her feet for close to five hours, bending over as she moves up and down in a forest gathering twigs and branches to sell as firewood. The 45-year-old single mother of five lost her job as an administrative assistant three years ago when the firm where she was working was restructured. She has been unable to secure another job since then.

Shrinking fish stocks threaten Malawians’ livelihood

Chicken was once considered a delicacy that rarely graced tables in Malawi. Now fish has taken over this position, despite Malawi being famous for its lake -- which is the fifth largest in the world by volume and contains an estimated 1 000 fish species. The lake is central to the livelihoods of many Malawians.

Waste not, want not

While the average working South African donates a generous 2,2% of his or her salary to worthy causes -- amounting to about R1-billion a month -- huge amounts of food are still wasted every day. It is almost impossible to determine how much surplus food is thrown away in South Africa because organisations that redistribute food work largely in isolation.

Changing appearances in Malawi — at a price

Malawians have found a solution to the problems posed by lack of cleavage, or an insubstantial derriere. Inspired by television programmes on extreme makeovers, which beam across the continent via satellite television, both men and women are taking action to change their appearance.

Food security remains a distant dream in Malawi

Forty years after independence, Malawi is still unable to ensure food security for its population, which is growing at a rate of 2% a year, according to the country's national statistical office. More than one million, or more than 10%, of Malawi's population are facing starvation this year, the World Food Programme has announced.

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