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Notes on the Geography of Malawi: Blantyre: Photo 3

world pictures Malawi: Blantyre

The African Lakes Company, which had always been known informally as Mandala, eventually became Mandala, Ltd. Finally it was sold to CFAO, a French company very active in Africa. Here's the rear of the old Top Mandala, now a CFAO property.

Although the building looks conventional, its construction was a saga. Fred Moir wrote in a memoir (After Livingstone, 1924, pp. 46-7) that "experiments were made with different clays to find that best adapted for the manufacture of bricks. To obviate cracking during the process of drying, chopped dry grass was at first added after the manner of the ancient Egyptians. We had no bricklayers, and to minimize the labour falling on the senior manager we made for this house specially large, heavy, sun-dried bricks, 19 by 8 /1/2 by 8 1/2 inches. The clay was thoroughly tramped by natives' feet and rammed into a mould made of boards, and dried slowly in the shade; the bricks became very hard and strong.... When the natives became expert with level and plummet, and able, under supervision, to build a well-bound wall, we adopted the usual 9-inch brick as more easily fired and quickly handled."

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