21 June 2010- Democracy and football
This past weekend Usisya CDSS (community day secondary school) was invited to a football and netball tournament in NkhataBay. About 8 schools in the district came together at a primary school for a typical round of games. I got flashbacks to my high school days of traveling to competitions with track, and these kids were no exception to the usual insanity (singing, yelling, purpling of boys and girls, school spirit, and tears over lost games). We ended up making it to the semi-finals and lost only in penalty kicks at the end. The netball team did a bit more poorly, but they fought hard and cheered the loudest for their peers. I was proud to be with them and rooting for Usisya.
In lieu of the event and the ongoing world cup I have been thinking a lot about the power of sports to bring people together. Countries, people, cultures… all come together to play mutual games and show off their athletic capacities. It's amazing to see how people can come together when faced with an opponent; it's the same experience as in battle, only with this there is only a trophy up for stake. I love seeing the team/ country spirit that comes out of these events.
In addition I was pushed to think more on political lines as the weekend progressed with tournaments and world cups because I attended a political lecture at MzuzuUniversity on Saturday night. I was invited by Mganda Chiume and happily accepted to see Peter Muthalika (minister of justice and brother to the president) speak to the university students regarding the Malawian Constitution. He was educated and lectured for several years in America, so not surprisingly he frequently referred to the American Democratic system. For example: The Malawian constitution has over 47 amendments compared to our 17, and we have four year terms while here they can serve for 5 years.
One funny point brought up, was that in the Malawian constitution it says that if there is an invading country and the parliament does not decide to fight back within 14 days then the country will automatically surrender. This, along with other points including: witch craft, regional seats, term limits, and child labor were all brought up as areas which he felt should be debated. Then the session ended with the students being aloud to ask questions back to the speaker and attending delegates. It's great to see the politicians so interested in these matters and opening up the debates to the youth of the country. This is something I would have seen at Elon, and am happy to see it happening here as well (even if on a small scale).