News / Africa

    Thousands Celebrate 50 Years of Malawi Independence

    Malawi celebrates its independence anniversary with speeches, parades, football, prayers and a new president, Peter Mutharika, who waved to crowds during his inauguration a month ago.
    Malawi celebrates its independence anniversary with speeches, parades, football, prayers and a new president, Peter Mutharika, who waved to crowds during his inauguration a month ago.
    Lameck Masina

    Malawians from across the country on Sunday celebrated the 50-year anniversary of their country's independence from Britain with traditional dances, an international friendly football match and prayers.

    The national event was held at Civo Stadium in the capital Lilongwe, where representatives from various neighboring countries were in attendance. So were tens of thousands of people who were ferried in by government vehicles from across the country to view the events. 

    The celebrations coincided with the 20-year anniversary of the introduction of multi-party politics.  A day-long series of events started Sunday morning with a national prayer service at Bingu International Conference Centre in Lilongwe.

    Lameck Masina reports on Malawi's independence anniversary
    Lameck Masina reports on Malawi's independence anniversaryi
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X


    Clergy from various dominations prayed for peace and prosperity for Malawi, one of Africa’s poorest countries, and one of the world’s least developed.

    Statistics show that more than 65 percent of Malawians still live below the poverty level – which is less than $2 per day.

    Bishop leads prayer for the poor

    Bishop Joseph Bvumbwe was among those leading the prayer service.

    “We pray, heavenly Father, that it is time we put to end all the sufferings of our people, so that they will taste the real meaning of independence as envisioned by those leaders who have gone before us. We pray, Lord, that fifty years may teach us to realize that this should have been the time we developed our nation.”

    Bvumbwe urged political leaders to unite in developing the country for the next five decades and avoid divisive politics that would prevent development.

    The celebrations at Civo Stadium ended with dances, concerts, and police and army parades.

    Not all Malawians supported what they viewed as celebrations that were too expensive for a poor country.  They said the bill – about $370,000 – could have been used to fund pro-poor initiatives.

    On Saturday, a column in a local weekly newspaper complained that instead of celebrating, Malawians should be mourning because no progress was made over the past five decades.

    Malawi’s new president replies to critics

    In his speech at the event, President Peter Mutharika replied to the article.

     “When this country became independent in 1964, there was only 60 miles of tarmac road,” said Mr. Mutharika. “Now, we have 200 miles of tarmac roads. Isn’t that progress? When this country became independent, there was not a single university; now we have close to 11 universities.  When this country became independent, we had four and half million people; we now have 14 million people, and the economy is able to sustain those 14 million people”

    Mr. Mutharika said that those countries which have developed have relied on hard work, and he called on Malawians to roll up their sleeves in unity and with patriotism.

    He urged those who only work from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and get paid for an eight-hour day to work a full day for a full day’s pay. “For those who are self-employed make sure that you are working for the benefit of this country.’

    Mr. Mutharika also echoed the words of spoken by President John Kennedy at his 1963 U.S. inaugural. “As a great American John F Kennedy said, ‘Ask not what a country can do for your but what you can do for your country.’”

    A friendly football match between the national team of Mozambique and Malawi ended in a one-all draw.

     

    You May Like

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora