By Alex Chanthunya
My father Sawathi earned respect because he talked to everyone in Blantyre. People were happy in cheerfully greeting him “Wawa Sawathi”.
He never scrambled to get on the Chilomoni Bus when getting back from work. After passengers’ scramble, the bus conductor or inspector would call on Sawathi to board onto the bus.
Nobody complained because everyone respected Sawathi. Once on the bus, as he wiggled his way from front to the back of the bus, he requested all seated male passengers to stand up and give their seats to female passengers. The men complied. Anyone who dared not comply was booed by both male and female passengers.
Sawathi used to work for the Department of Sports. The boxing legend King Kong King Marshal Jetu returned to Malawi from Great Britain during the same period. His fame was exploding in Malawi. Malawi was excited with the new Heavyweight boxer.
Jetu invited boxers from England who he was knocking out in grand fashion to the excitement of many Malawians. Subsequent wins became questionable.
Ray Batchelor (a white man) the Director of Department of Sports was tasked to determine whether Jetu was defrauding Malawians. Batchelor invited John Fighter of Zimbabwe to fight Jetu. Many Malawians hoped Jetu would beat John Fighter to deflate Rhodesians’ superiority complex.
Unfortunately, John Fighter thoroughly beat Jetu. Malawians were not happy yet happy to realize that King Kong King Marshal Jetu was not the dream fighter they had hoping for to deflate Rhodesians (Zimbabwe) superiority complex.
Jetu was incredibly angry that Batchelor had invited John Fighter. He showed up at the Department of Sports ready to knock out Batchelor. Members of staff run from their offices. There was no Police Rapid Response then.
Instead of running away Sawathi run to Batchelor’s Office where he found Jetu holding Batchelor by throat. Instead of pleading with Jetu, he shouted an order at Jetu to leave Batchelor alone or else he would beat him. Jetu obeyed and left premises. The onlookers who had returned could not believe that Jetu had obeyed Sawathi.
Sawathi went about boasting that Jetu feared him. News reached Jetu that he feared Sawathi. He went about looking for Sawathi. He found Sawathi at Blantyre Bus Stage.
To the surprise of many at the Bus Stage, Jetu knelt before Sawathi and apologized to Sawathi for causing commotion at Swathi’s place. He confessed if he had known that Sawathi worked at Department of Sports he would not have gone there. He expressed his fear that he could not beat Sawathi because no one in Blantyre would care about him after beating respected Sawathi.
Jetu solved the mystery. He didnt fear Sawathi’s physical strength, he feared the RESPECT that Sawathi enjoyed in Blantyre.
The moral of the story you can earn power and influence through respect you earn from community.
Happy father’s dad. Continue resting in peace.