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TSENA MALALAKA: a large area of exchange and encounter

What does it mean?

TSENA MALALAKA is a malagasy expression.


The first meaning that comes to mind is the market, the market place, the day of the market. We say miantsena when we go to the market or when we will buy something. A shop or a store is also called tsena. But we must note that this word emerged before the birth of the exchange trading and finance, at the barter time. At that time, someone who has a hen for example would meet someone else who has rice and they would exchange their products. This means that each one does a step towards the other unlike it is the case with the present market where the seller remains on site and only the one who wants to buy something moves.

So the word tsena refers to exchange and at the same time to hospitality and meeting. We say mitsena when we go to someone to welcome him or her (welcoming a guest at the door, welcoming someone who has travelled at the station, taking her child to school...) We do not use mitsena if it is expected that the other comes to us; mitsena requires us to make a step forward to those we are welcoming - only then does the word refer truly to a meeting.


The primary meaning of malalaka is large, spacious. It also means free, without constraint. Malalaka can be linked to malala (loved, well loved, and beloved) and to mahalala (to know) which has the same root: lala. It can also be linked to lalana (path)

Therefore TSENA MALALAKA is a large area of exchange and encounter.