Photographs by Guy Tillim.
Punctum Press, 2006. 60 pp., 27 color illustrations, 6¼x8½".
Petros Village is situated in central Malawi, about 50 kilometres north of the capital Lilongwe. Rural, but not remote, its inhabitants rely on a local market to sell tobacco and beans for cash, and grow maize as a staple food.
The village takes its name from its chief, Petros James. In accordance with Chewa law he inherited the chieftainship not from his father, but from his uncle, his mother’s brother. The son of his sister Neri will inherit the title from Petros and take his name, just as Petros did from his uncle.
In February 2006, South Africa photographer Guy Tillim met Petros, who immediately invited him to spend a week on his farm, giving up his own bedroom for his guest.
And it is precisely this that pervades the pictures that Tillim took during that week: a sacred sense of warm hospitality, which is first and foremost generosity of spirit, unthinkable in city life.