A visit by MBC at one of the most famous markets in Lilongwe, Devil Street, a street believed to be accommodating almost all Africans from different countries revealed that people of different nationalites are plying their business in peace.
Located at the centre of the Lilongwe city, it is the hub of all sorts of business; from clothes, electronics, restaurants, barbershops and transportation among others.
The street is believed to be the only street in Lilongwe and of course probably the whole country, with a mini African Union, accommodating almost all Africans. People from Nigeria, Burundi, Congo, Rwanda, Zambia, Mozambique and Tanzania are all here.
When Malawi sees it as an obvious thing to be in peace, these Africans in this street are seeing it an opportunity to do business to improve their lives.
In random interviews with the Africans plying their businesses in the street, they seem embracing the cultural diversity in peace with most of the groceries owned by Burundians, barbershops by Congolese, Tanzanians in clothes business, Rwandese running restaurants and Nigerians into electronics.
Bishop Chinedu, of Ojo electronics, is a Nigerian, Chinedu said he loves doing business in Malawi because of the security it has, that one can do business with no threats. He also added that he prefers doing business in Malawi because of the cooperation among the many nationalities as they ply their different businesses.
Jaqline Godo Mwakiboli a Tanzanian, selling wrappers locally known as zitenje was quick to say Malawi is a beautiful country to do business as the people are warm and cooperative to do business with. She attributed the warmness to the peace the country has enjoyed for many years.
Another young man plying his business in peace, in the street is a Congolese barber Alimasi Issa Peter who has been in the country for over 5 years.
Issa said: “Business is good and I enjoy the tolerance of traders around the street. We share same customers and there is no need to be at war with each other,” said Issa.
Shupie Dhaka is into the transportation business, managing one of the Malawi - Zambia buses. Dhaka said Malawi is safe and cheap to live in.
“Malawi is a better place to be, Malawi has money too,” Dhaka highlighted.
Burundians at Devil Street are more into grocery shops; it is also believed that they sell their merchandise cheaper than others in the same sector. Reluctant to grant this reporter an interview, Mandevu was quick to say all is well so far. Mandevu added that on a good day at least 100 – 200 thousand Kwacha is made.
Malawian national, Eunice Kachikopa running clothing shop in the street, admitted to living peacefully with the foreigners.
However Kachikopa claimed that foreigners are largely doing businesses that could as well be done by Malawians.
“About living in peace yes, the foreigners are peaceful but the thing is they are doing the businesses we think can be done better by us Malawians,” Kachikopa noted.
She gave an example of running grocery shops with local products; she said Malawians are better in the business than the foreigners. She added that with that business is not good in the street.
Devil Street has neither day nor night. Life continues just the same way. Without having to ask whether the foreigners’ stay is legal or not, one thing is very clear, business at the Devil Street, is thriving, and thriving peacefully.