Insight, psychopathology and functioning are related in schizophrenia, but it is unclear whether insight relates independently to functioning after controlling for psychopathology. Equally, any such relationship may vary culturally. We investigated the relationship between insight, psychopathology and functioning in 60 patients with schizophrenia in Mzuzu, a town in Malawi. After controlling for psychopathology, functioning was associated with the ‘symptom relabelling’ dimension of insight (P=0.01). This preliminary finding suggests that symptom-focused psychoeducation might be appropriate for African patients with schizophrenia.