Frequently Asked Questions
 
1 Where did you learn this script aWhat will Malawians benefit from this script?nd who taught you
  I did not learn it anywhere and nobody taught me but I created it.
2 What is the purpose of this script?
  Its purpose is to serve as one of the symbols of Malawi's national identity when it replaces the Latin alphabet to write Malawian languages.
3 How can this script contribute to the development of Malawi?
  When Malawians write their languages with Mwangwego, they will become more creative. They will think better than today. The script will inspire them to be innovative for the country.
4 Do you think Malawians will accept this script?
  Present Malawians may not accept it because they have been influenced by colonial values. But future Malawians will use it when the Government of Malawi begins to realise that it needs innovative ideas from innovative Malawians and, especially, when Malawians finally get rid of envy and jealousy.
5 Why did you give it your name?
  I gave it my name for two reasons: 1) The idea to invent this script is mine and I toiled alone without assistance from anywhere. 2) To inspire the present and future Malawians to invent and innovate for Malawi when they remember that this script was created by a Malawian.
6 Don't you think this script will confuse children?
  This script will in no way confuse the children who will learn it. Instead, it will make them become cleverer. Children in Israel, Egypt, Ethiopia, India and other countries in the East learn two or more different writing systems and they are not confused. Malawian children will not be confused either. I refuse to think and believe that Malawian children are born too dull to learn two different systems.
7 What mad you invent this script?
  When I discovered that there are several different writing systems in the world, I wondered why in Malawi we did not have our own. And when I learnt that the Latin alphabet was imposed on our languages I did not like it. When I remembered the verb kulemba and kusimba which mean to write in Chichewa and Kyangonde, respectively, I was convinced that Malawians used to write before colonization. I, therefore, felt I should create a system that would decolonise our mind and adapts better to our languages.
8 Aren't you just crazy?
  If one thinks I am crazy, then every inventor, every innovator and every thinker is crazy when they create new ideas and objects that are used and enjoyed by millions of people who are not crazy.
9 Who is sponsoring the Mwangwego script?
  Mwangwego script has been and is sponsored by me. More than K1 million has been spent on the script since 1979. All institutions and organizations that I had contacted for help refused to give financial assistance.
10 What does the Malawi government say about the script?
  The Government of Malawi is quiet despite having been represented by a minister during the launch of the Mwangwego script on April 7, 1997. They have kept quiet despite receiving several letters from me. I wrote tirelessly to: The Office of the President and Cabinet, the State House, the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, the Ministry of Information, Members of Parliament. There is dead silence since 1997.
11 What is the position of Malawian universities?
  Universities in Malawi have not shown any interest in this invention. It may appear that it is due to colonial conditioning and also because the script did not come from them. Officials from the Centre for Language Studies of the University of Malawi promised, in their letter of 29th April 1997, to give me a feedback on the script and I am still waiting to hear from them.
12 What will Malawians benefit from this script?
  Malawians will benefit a lot from this invention as a cultural and intellectual identity. It will enable them to keep all records intact. It will give them inspiration for innovation.
13 What have you achieved?
  When you create something new that changes people's mode of life, this in itself, is an achievement. People who have learnt the script appreciate what they know and use. Malawians will remember that I have contributed something to human knowledge and that I have put my country on the map of inventors. This is a very important contribution to national development.
14 When do you think the script will be introduced in Malawian schools?
  The script will be introduced in Malawian schools only when the Government of Malawi decides to recognise it.
15 Why not put Mwangwego on Malawian postage stamps?
  The issue about Mwangwego script on Malawian postage stamps was discussed in December 2005. Stamps were designed and were expected in 2006 but the Headquarters of Malawi Posts Corporation refused to use the script saying that it was difficult for them to believe that the script was created by a Malawian. This sentiment was also echoed by the director of culture in the ministry of tourism and culture who expressed fear of promoting a foreign script.
16 If someone wants to learn Mwangwego, what is the procedure?
  One can choose from two options: 1) If you want to learn it just like that, it is free of charge and you can do so online. 2) If you want to enjoy the status of being one of 10 000 “pioneers of Mwangwego”, there is a small fee and your name will appear in the Mwangwego Museum of Writing.
17 Is there any literature with Mwangwego?
  Yes, there is a book in Chichewa written with Mwangwego published in 2011 and some more books are in the pipeline in other languages.
18 Who witnessed the beginning of Mwangwego?
  Two people witnessed the beginning of the Mwangwego script: Ellen Mwangwego, in 1979 and Aaron Sangala in 1980.
19 Don't you think it is too late to introduce a new script now when Malawians are already writing with the Latin alphabet?
  It is not too late to introduce this script now as it is mostly children who will start learning it during their first year of primary school. When schools were introduced in Malawi around 1875, the people who were taught the Latin alphabet were children. The same thing will happen with this script.
20 What is the difference between Mwangwego and the Latin alphabet?
  The difference is that with Mwangwego script, each symbol [misisi] stands for a syllable. For example, the word Malawi is written with three symbols. The symbol's name is the sound it stands for. For example, the character which stands for ma is called ma. With the Latin alphabet, you need to combine several characters to write a syllable.
21 The script looks difficult. How easy is it for one to learn?
  Anything you don't know gives the impression that it is difficult. You understand in one hour how the script works and you master it in four weeks. There are three lessons: 1) misisi, 2)misiri, 3)mituyo.

 

 
 
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