Our Foundation for Malawi

History Friends for Africa

Malawi was created as an independent state on 6 July 1964 from the British protectorate of Nyasaland. Malawi came under British colonial rule in 1891. In 1912, a group of black leaders founded the North Nyasa Native Association (NNNA). The NNNA tried to move within the existing structures for better living conditions for the indentured labourers on the plantations and in the mines.

In 1915, the evangelist John Chilembwe rebelled against British authority. However, the rebellion was crushed and Chilembwe was killed. Nevertheless, after this, the national consciousness grew among the population.

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World War II

During World War II, the Nyasaland African Congress was founded by nationalists who sought self-government for Malawi. The NAC gained a large following and began to become radical. The NAC quickly strived for an independent Malawi. On August 1, 1953, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi (Nyasaland) were merged into a federation (Central African Federation). In 1958, the Malawi National Congress (MNC) was established by Hastings Kamuzu Banda. The NAC and the MNC vigorously opposed the federation, which was defunct in 1963. In 1963, Malawi gained self-government with Banda as prime minister.

Malawi became independent

On July 6, 1964, Malawi became an independent state. Banda remained Prime Minister. In 1966, he declared Malawi a republic and became president. Soon after, all political parties except the MNC were banned. Banda became a dictator whose foreign policy was oriented towards the West. It wasn't until the 1980s that Banda signed friendship treaties with neighboring countries. For a long time, Malawi was one of the few with ties to apartheid South Africa. In 1988 there was a brief crisis with Mozambique, when the latter accused Malawi of supporting the resistance movement in Mozambique.

Revolt against President Banda's one-party system

In 1991 and 1992 there were protests against the rule of President Banda and his one-party system. In June 1993, the people voted in a referendum to abolish the party system. Not much later, several parties were legalized.

The United Democratic Party (UDF) became the main party. President Banda was defeated by UDF candidate Bakili Muluzi in 1994. In mid-May 2004, Bingu Wa Mutharika was elected president.

Malawi in one of the poorest countries in the world

The absence of minerals, the absence of a seaport, the traditional focus on the cultivation of tea and tobacco on plantations, together with the low level of education of the population make the economic situation dramatic. On top of that has come the AIDS epidemic, which has wiped out a significant part of the economically productive middle generation.