Malawi (, or ; 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).
The Zambezi (also spelled Zambeze and Zambesi) is the fourth-longest river in Africa, the longest east-flowing river in Africa and the largest flowing into the Indian Ocean from Africa. The area of its basin is 1,390,000 square kilometres (540,000 sq mi), slightly less than half of the Nile's. The 2,574-kilometre-long river (1,599 mi) rises in Zambia and flows through eastern Angola, along the eastern border of Namibia and the northern border of Botswana, then along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe to Mozambique, where it crosses the country to empty into the Indian Ocean.
The Zambezi's most noted feature is Victoria Falls. Other notable falls include the Chavuma Falls at the border between Zambia and Angola, and Ngonye Falls, near Sioma in Western Zambia.
There are two main sources of hydroelectric power on the river, the Kariba Dam, which provides power to Zambia and Zimbabwe, and the Cahora Bassa Dam in Mozambique, which provides power to Mozambique and South Africa. There are additional two smaller power stations along the Zambezi River in Zambia, one at Victoria Falls and the other one near Kalene Hill in Mwinilunga District.
Children in Mgona, one of the poorest communities in Lilongwe, Malawi. AIDS-orphans play with a selfmade car.
Did you know ...
- ... that the residents of Kasungu, Malawi, live in houses made from handmade bricks and straw roofing?
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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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