The Republic of Malawi, commonly known as Malawi, is a landlocked country in southeast Africa. After a long and bitter struggle it achieved its freedom from the British Empire on July 6, 1964. Since then the country has observed this day as its Independence Day.
The Independence Day is a public holiday in Malawi. The national flag is hoisted in many parts of the country and the main streets are decorated. Political rallies and speeches mark the occasion.
Why is the Independence Day significant in the history of Malawi?
The British made first inroads into Malawi around mid 1873. By 1883, the British sent a consul to the area, and in 1891, Malawi became British Central African Protectorate. It was named Nyasaland in 1907.
The 1900s saw many unsuccessful attempts to win freedom. However, these attempts sowed the seeds of nationalism, and by 1944 the growing number of Western educated Africans openly voiced their dissent against colonial rule. Eventually, they came together to form Nyasaland African Congress (NAC).
In 1950s the formation of Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (The federation comprised Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, which form present day Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi respectively) by British fueled the demand for independence. By 1958, Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda returned to his homeland, and became head of NAC, which later came to be known as Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
Under his leadership MCP gained political momentum, and in 1961 in the election for a new legislative council the MCP won an overwhelming majority. In 1963, the party was granted the right to complete self-governance in internal matters, and the British dissolved the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
Finally, on July 4, 1964 Malawi became an independent nation with a new constitution, and Banda as its first president.
What does the national flag of Malawi represent?
Malawi adopted its new flag in 2010 replacing the old flag, which was adopted at the time of its independence. The new flag retained the black, red, and green colors, but the sequence of horizontal stripes was changed. In the new flag the topmost strip is red in color, the middle is black, and the bottom one is green.
The red-half rising sun on the top black strip has been replaced with a white sun in the center of the three horizontal stripes. While the red-half rising represented a fledging country, the white sun shows the evolution of Malawi since it gained its independence.
The three stripes in the order of top to bottom indicate the blood of martyrs, the black African people, and the ever-green landscape of the country.
Who wrote the National Anthem of Malawi?
Titled as “Mulungu dalitsa Malawi,” which means “Oh God Bless Our Land of Malawi” the national anthem of Malawi has been written by Michael-Fredrick Paul Sauka. Sauka also composed the music for the anthem.