Chief Ndindi

This is an old photograph of chief Ndindi(in the middle),taken when we were working in Malawi,southern Africa.
In many countries of Africa there are two kinds of government: underlying the obvious, modern government is the ancient ,traditional system of chiefs. Chief Ndindi is a very quiet man, well respected by his people, the villagers of Chipoka, a small town on the shore of lake Malawi. For our work there, we needed the temporary use of a piece of land. So we requested an audience with the chief.
The chiefs house, in the old part of the village, was a small, traditional african hut. When we arrived, there were already about ten men in the square in front of the hut, talking and laughing among themselves. Our translator greeted each of these with respect, shaking hands and saying "zikomo, zikomo": thank you, thank you, meaning thank you for seeing us.
These ten men we were shaking hands with were the traditional court of chipoka. Although simple, poor people, they held positions of respect and power in the community. For example, the last court tried a chicken thief, called Maganiso and sentenced him to pay a fine to the owner of the chicken.
After introductions, we were shown into the chiefs hut and given a cowskin to sit on. One of the men was well dressed and obviously wealthier, so we assumed he was the chief, and were surprised, when we were introduced to a thin, poor looking, badly dressed elderly man. He was very quiet and occasionally nodded, or whispered to the man next to him. It seemed like we were starring in a movie about the Africa explorers. I could not speak Chichewa, so just smiled and tried to guess what was going on.
We got permission to use the land, on condition that I use my welding machine to repair the broken bicycles of the village.
To thank him, a few weeks later, we gave him a large bag of sugar and a new shirt. Sugar in Malawi is very precious and in short supply. Malawians love sugar and everyone puts at least four spoons in their coffee.

During our stay in Chipoka I met chief Ndindi a few times. He was always polite and reserved and obviously very respected by everyone. It was a pleasure to have known him.

Can you guess what this food is, that is being sold in the market in Malawi? One of the right answers will receive a souvenir from Africa in the mail. Email us with your answer!

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