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Malawi’s Mandalas

The wondrous athletics tracks drawn onto the ground in outlying areas of Malawi that last only a matter of days before turning to dust again

The world over, sport has always been an education in and of itself: sport helps build reciprocal trust, foster selflessness and teach fundamental values like respect for rules and gender equality. Malawi, one of Africa’s poorest nations, lacks many things but in particular there is a dearth of organized sports events and facilities capable of hosting them. Responding to this is Africathletics, an association that some years ago began using white chalk to trace fully functional athletics tracks in some of the country’s more remote areas. Born from the idea of two Italians, Africathletics has the goal of educating through 

sport (and in particular, athletics) and, with the help of volunteers all over the world, building a solid sporting tradition in Malawi. “On a practical level we can train without having an actual track,” explains a coach from the association, ”However, that track drawn onto the ground assumes an important symbolic value for the athletes: it is proof that in that particular moment, in that place, a piece of Malawi is dedicated exclusively to sporting activities.” 


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