Some Thoughts on Malawian Ethnic Groups

The other day I was contemplating the ancestors and  national character as it were. While reading a Ph.D thesis on the Yao people, I read that the Yao, the ethnic group that my maternal grandfather belonged to were warriors and were prided for their intellect. I’m keen to learn about the other tribes in Malaŵi, and about what their characteristics are. Could those characteristics have been passed down over the ages?

Issues around ethnic groups are often complex, to my understanding. Three ethnic groups are featured among my parents; Yao, Lomwe and Sena. How do I decide which one I am? Some of the tribes in Malaŵi are matrilineal, others patrilineal, so it’s not always easy to determine whether one should follow their father’s or parent’s side.

Interesting site that talks about the main tribes of Malaŵi. I know there are more but this is a good start: http://www.wawamalawi.com/cultures/sena.php

Current Task: Writing Book Proposal

This hasn’t been an easy task, although I knew it wouldn’t be! It has made me realize the importance of knowing one’s subject matter in some detail at least before deciding to write a book. Having a strong foundation is a must and will definitely help me in the long run.

The first step of the book proposal, that I completed a couple of weeks ago, is a basic book outline with chapter names. The second step entails fleshing out the chapters with a summary paragraph of what the chapter will cover. That is proving hard to do on the research I’ve currently done. I read a lot but I realize I have so much more to read. The process has been exciting though, illuminating even. I’m definitely excited about the prospect of doing more in-depth research, to really open my eyes.

A difficult task for me was deciding who my target audience should be. I wondered, would Malawians be interested in reading my book? Malawians in Malawi, or elsewhere in Africa? Malawians in the West? Or non-Malawians everywhere?

This proposal needs to be as stellar as possible. Now I’m onto my third draft and I’m still not fully satisfied. I honestly have L.H. to thank for my proposal being as good as it currently is; her insight and comments have been absolutely priceless.