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   About Malawi

Today’s Weather in Central Malawi from Yahoo

Official Name: Republic of Malawi

President


H.E. Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika,
President of the Republic of Malawi

MALAWI GATE OPENER

Official Name: Republic of Malawi
Head of State: H.E. Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika
Vice President : Rt. Hon. Saulos Klaus Chilima
Capital City: Lilongwe
Area: 118,484 sq km
Location: Southern Africa, bordered by Zambia, Mozambique and Tanzania
Population: 15,028,757 (July 2010 est.)
Government Type: Multi-party democracy
Branches:  
  Executive President (the president is both chief of state and head of government
  Legislature Unicameral National Assembly (193 members)
  Judiciary High Court, Supreme Court of Appeal, subordinate Magistrate Courts
Independence: 6 July 1964
Languages: Chichewa, Chiyao Chitumbuka, Chisena Chilomwe hitonga and English which is the official language
Religions: Christianity, Islam and others
Natural Resources: Limestone, arable land, hydropower, uranium, coal, and bauxite
GDP (PPP): US$13.51 billion (2010 est.)
GDP Growth: 6.7% (2010)
Inflation: 7.5% (2010)
Main Exports: Tobacco 53%, tea, sugar, cotton, coffee, peanuts, wood products, apparel
Main Imports: Petroleum products, semi manufactures, consumer goods, transportation equipment
   

National Flag: The rising sun signifies the dawn of freedom; the black stands for the People of Africa; the red signifies the Blood of the Martyrs of African freedom and the green represents the evergreen nature of Malawi.

Coat Of Arms: The national crest has the Rising Sun representing the Dawn of Freedom in Africa, at the top and bottom of the shield. The Fish Eagle and the wavy blue and white bands on the shield symbolize Lake Malawi. The Lion and the Leopard support and guard the crest as a whole. The land at the base is the rugged Mount Mulanje. The Coat of Arms bears the motto Unity and Freedom.

Major Cities: Lilongwe (the Capital City) and Blantyre (the Commercial
                      Capital), Mzuzu

Climate: Malawi lies within an inter-tropical zone. The country experiences three seasons; cool and dry from May to August; hot and dry from September to mid-November; and hot and wet from November to April.

PEOPLE

Malawi is often referred to as the "Warm Heart of Africa," due to the warmth and friendliness of the people. Malawians typically live with their extended families in dwellings that are grouped together in villages. A spirit of cooperation prevails as family members share both work and resources. The Malawi people are of Bantu origin with the ethnic (African) groups including: Chewa, Nyanja, Yao, Tumbuka, Lomwe, Sena, Tonga, Ngoni and Ngonde.

The Chewa people form the largest part of the population group and are largely concentrated in the central and southern parts of the country. The Yao people are predominately found around the southern area of Lake Malawi. The Tumbuka are found mainly in the north of the country. There are small populations of Asian and European people that mostly live in the cities.

CULTURE

Malawi prides itself on a mosaic of unique cultural practices and norms. The main traditional dances and rituals, as well as arts and crafts, found among the people act as an identifying factor for the many, but united ethnic groups of the country. The dances of Malawi, for instance, have deeper meaning than what appears on the surface and, accordingly, effort has been made to keep these intact as part of Malawi's cultural heritage and for posterity. As a way of achieving the goal of retaining the country's traditional values, the Museum of Malawi conducts a series of cultural activities in schools and public places so that those who do not have contact with village life can benefit from facilities offered by the organization.

Also see the website of the Warehouse Cultural Centre.

Languages: English is the official language and is very widely spoken, particularly in main towns, but sometimes also in remote rural areas. Chichewa, is the common national tongue widely used throughout the country.

Religions: The Chewa people, who form the largest part of the population, are predominantly Christian/Protestant and the Yao people are mainly Muslim. The religious groups in Malawi can be broken down approximately as follows: Christianity 75% (Protestant 55% and Roman Catholic 20%); Islam 20%; and 5% for those of traditional indigenous beliefs and other minor religions.

HISTORY OF MALAWI

The first inhabitants of Malawi are thought to have started settling around Lake Malawi about 10,000BC. During the 16th century there was a vast trading empire established by the Maravi people from whom the country derives its modern name. The first European to make contact with the area now known as Malawi may have been the Portuguese explorer Gaspar Bocarro, whose diary published in 1492 made reference to the great inland lake in central Africa. The slave trade which ravaged most of Africa from 16th Century to the 19th Century also left its imprints on Malawi’s historical development. The Arab slave traders arrived on the shores of Lake Malawi from Zanzibar Island in the Indian Ocean in search of slaves sometime after 1840 and continued until 19th Century.

The history of modern Malawi is linked with the life of the Scottish missionary explorer, David Livingstone (1813 to 1873) who reached the lake he named ‘Lake Nyasa’ in 1859. Following his appeal to other missionaries to come and fight the slave trade in Central and East Africa, the first missionary expedition of the Universities Mission to Central Africa (UMCA) arrived in Malawi in 1861. However, it was not until 1875 that the first permanent mission station was established at Cape Maclear on Lake Malawi by the Free Church of Scotland.

In 1876, Blantyre Mission was established. This is one of the main seats of what is now known as the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP). In 1884, the first European trading station was established in Karonga, Malawi’s northeast point.

 

In 1891, the British Government declared a Protectorate over what was then known as Nyasaland Districts. This was later changed, in 1893, to the British Central Africa Protectorate and later Nyasaland Protectorate in 1907. The political struggle against British rule in Nyasaland, where the Africans were subjected to many unfair practices, reached its peak with the uprising in 1915 led by John Chilembwe who is considered the father of Malawi’s nationalism and hailed from Chiradzulu district.

 


Although the uprising was not successful, the Africans’ dislike of the British rule continued and, in 1944, the Nyasaland African Congress—later changed to Malawi Congress Party under the leadership of Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda in 1959—was formed to mobilize the people to fight for their rights and ultimately achieve independence from Britain.

In 1953, the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was formed despite African opposition. This meant that the British Government had virtually transferred its protectorate responsibility over Nyasaland to the white settlers of Southern Rhodesia. But the African resistance to the federation, forced the British to shelve the idea. Constitutional talks for Malawi’s independence were later held at Lancaster House in London in July 1960 after which Nyasaland was allowed a Legislative Council. Nyasaland became an independent state of Malawi on July 6, 1964. Two years later, the country became a Republic, with Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda as the first President. This was also the year that Malawi became, by act of Parliament, a one party state.

After three decades of one-party rule under President Hastings Kamuzu Banda, the country held multiparty elections in 1994, under a provisional constitution, which came into full effect the following year.

The first elections under the multiparty system took place on 17 May 1994, where by Dr. Bakili Muluzi was elected into office as the country’s first democratic president, he was re-elected in 1999. In 2004, Malawi held its third multi-party elections and elected President Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika as the Head of State, he was re-elected in 2009. President Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika died due to heart attack on 05 April 2012, Malawi’s then Vice President, Mrs. Joyce Banda sworn in as President following her predecessor's sudden death on 7 April 2012.

 
 
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