Portal:Malawi

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The Republic of Malawi (/məˈlɑːwi/; Chichewa [malawi]) is a landlocked country in southeast Africa that was formerly known as Nyasaland. Nyasa means Lake in yawo languege. It is bordered by Zambia to the northwest, Tanzania to the northeast, and Mozambique on the east, south and west. The country is separated from Tanzania and Mozambique by Lake Malawi. Its size is over 118,000 km2 (45,560 sq mi) with an estimated population of more than 15,900,000. Its capital is Lilongwe, the biggest city is Blantyre. The name Malawi is believed to come from the Maravi, an old name of the Nyanja people that inhabit the area.

Malawi was first settled during the 10th century and remained under native rule until 1891 when it was colonized by the British, who ruled the country until 1964. Upon gaining independence it became a single-party state under the presidency of Hastings Banda, who remained president until 1994, when he was ousted from power. Bingu Mutharika, elected in 2004, is the current president. Malawi has a democratic, multi-party government. Malawi has a small military 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 organizations.

Malawi is among the world's least developed and most densely populated countries. The economy is heavily based in agriculture, with a largely rural population. The Malawian government depends heavily on outside aid to meet development needs, although this need (and the aid offered) has decreased since 2000. The Malawian government faces challenges in growing the economy, improving education, health care and the environmental protection and becoming financially independent. Malawi has several programs developed since 2005 that focus on these issues, and the country's outlook appears to be improving, with improvements in economic growth, education and healthcare seen in 2007 and 2008.

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edit 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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Malawi 2.jpg
Credit: Steve Evans

A child stands before sunrise on the shore of Lake Malawi, Africa's third largest freshwater lake.

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Monoxylon beach Lake Malawi 1557.jpg

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Wikinews Malawi portal
  • September 26: 2012 Report on Gender Equality and Development credits Icelandic parental policy with 'hopeful' changes
  • September 25: 2012 Report on Gender Equality and Development looks at women's issues in India
  • June 29: African Olympians and Paralympians prepare for their London odyssey
  • May 29: Malawi President pardons jailed gay couple
  • January 31: Gaddafi loses African Union chair
  • July 23: Ivory Coast fined US$47,000 by FIFA over March stampede
  • May 23: Malawian president inaugurated after reelection
  • May 19: Malawi holds presidential and parliamentary elections
  • March 29: Stadium disaster claims lives at football World Cup qualifier match in Ivory Coast
  • February 22: Number of cholera cases in Zimbabwe reaches 80,000

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Selected biography

edit 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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