the chewa of mgwindhi

A number of years ago I had the very great privilege of travelling to Malawi with a writer named Alan Martin. We were there on behalf of Concern Worldwide to produce words and photos of their work in Malawi in relation to chronic food shortages and starvation.

We were hosted by chief Simon Banda in the village of Mgwindhi, Nkhotakota central Malawi where we bedded down on the floor of his hut. Inbetween our travels to explore and record evidence of the terrible shortages of food and water we would return to Mgwindhi village to recharge our batteries and try to digest what we had witnessed.

What with the heat, mosquitos and marriage proposals we didn’t get much sleep, but we were however treated to the most wonderful hospitality and I made this very simple set of portraits of some of the local characters most intrigued by our presence.

The first girl in the series, Grace Somanje, was very keen to have her photo taken, but when I had the camera to my face I heard a very loud shriek and her mother came running over grabbing and pulling her away. I was completely mortified that I had got the young girl into trouble and despite trying to appease her mother she stormed off dragging Grace behind. I felt terrible and started walking slowly off – only to be dragged back a short while later – by Grace and her mum.

Her mum had dragged Grace off to put on the white dress she now wears in the picture. Mum’s will be mums :-)

2 Comments on: the chewa of mgwindhi

  • Sep 21 2016 at 8:31 am
    Eva says:

    Great pics Dave. Hope you’re keeping well. Miss you! X

    • Sep 21 2016 at 5:43 pm
      David says:

      Heeyyyy, how are you? I miss you too xx

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