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Malawi like most other African countries, has got a strong component of oral tradition or Indigenous Knowledge systems which have been preserved and passed on from generation to generation. These continue to inform, educate and entertain Malawians, regardless of age, creed and status. It is expressed through myths, fables, folklores, proverbs and other related fora. It applies to various sections of Malawian society including health, agriculture, social, justice, education and others. Of particular interest are the myths and folklores where the hare emerges as the most clever in the animal kingdom, the hyena is the most cunning and sly, lion strong and brave, the tortoise patient and calculating in whatever it does just to mention a few. These folklores have also played a major role in sensitizing local communities on the need to conserve wildlife resources.

Plant life also plays a major role in the day to day life of rural Malawians especially in providing cure to ailments that afflict them. Some plants are known to have aphrodisiac qualities, plants such as gondolosi which has been used by Malawians ver the years. The Sausage tree, -locally known as Muvunguti - is reputed to be able to enlarge male organs to ones desired size. Mind you this has not been scientifically proven; it’s all part of local knowledge, as you travel around you will learn a lot about the informal school, feel free to ask questions. The informal institutions extend to all facets of Malawian life, birth, puberty, courtship, marriage, justice, marriage and even death.

Local heroes are also celebrated through legends that have been passed on from generation to generation. Traditional dances, arts and crafts also play a major role in the conservation and dissemination of information on Malawi’s oral tradition. It is through this genre that Malawi has benefitted in terms of information on things which happened generations ago.

Oral tradition has therefore played a major role in preserving and conserving Malawi’s cultural and natural resources, the onus is on you to learn what is there to learn, broaden your knowledge and leave Malawi, an enlightened person!  This serves to inform and educate you that informal school has played and continues to play a major role in the social and economic development of Malawi.


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