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A Street Trader Calls

Thoughts on an Entrepreneur – Lilongwe, Malawi 12 January 1996
On returning from our visit to the SOS Children’s Village in Lilongwe we were intrigued by a trader with a bicycle who came into the garden, and what his future prospects might be. Not good, it seems.
We walked to Penny and John’s office, which entails crossing the garden, and there in the garden was a street trader with a bicycle and a cloth containing small piles of aubergines, tomatoes, mangoes, etc each selling for a fixed price per pile, or at least a set price per pile, possibly not that fixed.
Penny and John say he is doing well and if this good fortune continues he will eventually be beaten up by his neighbours or at the very least have his bicycle demolished. P&J take this as further evidence of how dumb Malawians are; they are unaware of the peer-to-peer pressure of the peasant. The peasant’s desire, passionate mission, is to stay a peasant and he will hit out at anyone who challenges that. This is by no means solely a Malawian trait. [Next political . . .]


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