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Malawi - The Warm Heart of Africa

Malawi is a little known gem of a country situated at the southern edge of East Africa. It is a long narrow landlocked country, covering more than 1ooo kilometers from north to south. Lake Malawi, nearly 600 km long and up to 80 km wide, dominates the countryside. There is no country in all of Africa that has its geography so sculptured and determined by Africa's Great Rift Valley, the largest single geographical feature on Earth. Towering mountains, lush, fertile valley floors and enormous crystal clear lakes are hallmarks of much of the Rift Valley - and Malawi has the lot. Throw a seed on the ground and a plant grows.


Malawi was known as Nyasaland until it became independant in 1964. In the 19th century it was a flourishing centre for the Arab slave trade, until the arrival of David Livingstone in 1859. The trade was abolished when the country became a British protectorate in 1891. In 1953, it joined the Central African Federation. Zomba, a small town in the southern region, was formally the administrative capital of the Federation also known as the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland ,before the federation broke up. Northern Rhodesia took the name Zambia, Southern Rhodesia became Rhodesia and then Zimbabwe, and Nyasaland became Malawi under the leadership of Dr Hastings Banda. One-party rule was established and the country has only recently adopted a plural political system. Hastings Banda was educated by missionaries, and at the age of 12 walked to Johannesburg (over a thousand miles) and found work as a clerk in one of the gold mines. He was noticed by a philanthropist who paid for his continuing education before he went to medical school in Scotland.


Malawi's greatest asset is it's amazingly friendly people, earning the country the tile of "The Warm Heart of Africa". The population is currently estimated at +-10 million with an annual growth rate of 2.3%. Literacy is low at around 36%. The mortality rate of 1 in 4 who die before reaching the age of 5 is contributed to poor access to medical facilities and diseases such as Cholera, Malaria, Typhoid, Yellow Fever and Polio, and of course Aids, are prevalent among the population. However, despite the poverty and other hardships, the peoples of Malawi greet each day with a smile and the hope that "today will be better than yesterday".

 

 

 

 

 



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