Portal:Malawi

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Introduction

Flag of Malawi.svg

Malawi (/məˈlɔːwi/, /məˈlɑːwi/ or /ˈmæləwi/; Chichewa[maláβi] or [maláwi]), officially the Republic of Malawi, is a landlocked country in southeast Africa that was formerly known as Nyasaland. It is bordered by Zambia to the northwest, Tanzania to the northeast, and Mozambique on the east, south and west. Malawi is over 118,000 km2 (45,560 sq mi) with an estimated population of 18,091,575 (as at July 2016). Lake Malawi takes up about a third of Malawi's area. Its capital is Lilongwe, which is also Malawi's largest city; the second largest is Blantyre, the third is Mzuzu and the fourth largest is its old capital Zomba. The name Malawi comes from the Maravi, an old name of the Nyanja people that inhabit the area. The country is also nicknamed "The Warm Heart of Africa".

The area of Africa now known as Malawi was settled by migrating Bantu groups around the 10th century. Centuries later in 1891 the area was colonised by the British. In 1953 Malawi, then known as Nyasaland, a protectorate of the United Kingdom, became a protectorate within the semi-independent Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. The Federation was dissolved in 1963. In 1964 the protectorate over Nyasaland was ended and Nyasaland became an independent country under Queen Elizabeth II with the new name Malawi. Two years later it became a republic. Upon gaining independence it became a totalitarian one-party state under the presidency of Hastings Banda, who remained president until 1994, when he lost an election. Arthur Peter Mutharika is the current president. Malawi has a democratic, multi-party government. The country has a Malawian Defence Force that includes an army, a navy and an air wing. Malawi's foreign policy is pro-Western and includes positive diplomatic relations with most countries and participation in several international organisations, including the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and the African Union (AU).

Selected article

Chinyanja also known as Chichewa is a language of the Bantu language family widely spoken in south-central Africa. The prefix chi- means "the language of" so that "Chichewa" means "language of the Chewa tribe", and hence the language is also known simply as Chewa.

Chichewa is the national language of the Republic of Malawi and as Chinyanja is one of the seven official tribal languages of Zambia, where it is spoken mostly in the Eastern Province and in Lusaka. It is also spoken in Mozambique, especially in the provinces of Tete and Niassa, as well as in Zimbabwe where, according to some estimates, it ranks as the third most widely used local language, after Shona and Northern Ndebele.

Chinyanja/Chichewa has its origin in the Eastern Province of Zambia from the 15th century to the 18th century. The language remained dominant despite the breakup of the empire and the Nguni invasions and was adopted by Christian missionaries at the beginning of the colonial period.

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Lake Malawi fisherman sunrise.jpg
Credit: Steve Evans

A fisherman Lake Malawi, Africa's third largest freshwater lake.

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Monoxylon beach Lake Malawi 1557.jpg

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In the news

Wikinews Malawi portal
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Selected biography

Hastings Kamuzu Banda (1896? – 25 November 1997) was the leader of Malawi and its predecessor state, Nyasaland, from 1961 to 1994. After receiving much of his education overseas, Banda returned to his home country (then British Nyasaland) to speak against colonialism and help lead the movement towards independence. In 1963, he was formally appointed Nyasaland’s prime minister, and led the country to independence as Malawi a year later. Two years later, he declared Malawi a republic with himself as president. He quickly consolidated power and eventually declared Malawi a one party state under the Malawi Congress Party. In 1970, the MCP declared him the party’s President for Life. In 1971, he became President for Life of Malawi itself.

A leader of the pro-Western bloc in Africa, he received support from the West during the cold war. He generally supported women’s rights, improved the country’s infrastructure, and maintained a good educational system relative to other African countries. On the debit side, however, he presided over one of the most repressive regimes in Africa. He also faced scorn for maintaining full diplomatic relations with apartheid-era South Africa.

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