Inside Malawi

About half the size of the UK and with a population of just under 14,000,000, Malawi is home to Lake Malawi, the third largest lake in Africa that covers one fifth of the nation. Inside Malawi you will discover highland areas and mountains with heaths and forests; a very diverse topography.

The friendly disposition of the Malawi people had led it to be called the 'Warm Heart of Africa', but, unfortunately its people have a life expectancy of just 52 years with an infant mortality rate of 120 death per 1000 and HIV/AIDS affects nearly one in three of the population.

The people of Malawi were originally called the Maravi and they first came to present day Malawi around six hundred years ago, dividing into two groups, one, the forefathers of the present day Chewas, settling on the west bank of Lake Malwai and the other, the forefathers of the Nyanjas, settling on the east bank. These Bantu people formed an empire, but an empire in name only with conflict and division precluding a cohesive society.

The official language inside Malawi is English (although many people, particularly in rural areas, speak Chichewa), its currency is the Kwacha, and its people are made up from various cultures. These include the Chewa people who live in the central area, the Nyanja people in the south, the Tumbuko people in the north along with the Tonga, the Ngoni and Ngonde people who live in the lower northern and lower central regions of Malawi and the mainly Muslim Yao who live on the border with Mozambique. Other Malawi people include the Lomwe and Sena as well as people of European and Asian descent, however this latter group is mainly confined to city areas.

Inside Malawi the population is predominantly Christian with 55% being Protestant, 20% being Roman Catholic and a similar figure 20% being Muslim. Unlike many other African countries indigenous beliefs account for only 3% of the population whilst just 2% are classified as 'other.' People inside Malawi, outside of urban areas, typically live in huts with their extended families, and its traditional to share out work and resources between family members.


Inside Malawi

Inside Malawi

Inside Malawi

Inside Malawi


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Inside Malawi

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Inside Malawi
Inside Malawi

Human Development Index for Malwai 1980 - Present

The HDI (Human Development Index) is measured by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the World Bank and is based upon the life expectancy, literacy, access to knowledge and living standards of a country. Malawi is in 170th place out of 186 countries and territories in 2013 and the chart below shows how levels of poverty and living standards inside Malawi fall far short of even sub-Saharan standards.

Malawi is one of the ten poorest countries on the planet with 85% of its population living in rural areas and overall over half its population live on less than 60p a day. The country is often afflicted by severe famines with the famine of 2005 affecting over four million of the country's inhabitants, leaving them without proper food supplies. Only a third of children in Malawi have access to safe water making childhood disease common and HIV is still rampant despite efforts by the democratic government to address the issue, with nearly one third of all mothers in Malawi passing the virus onto their children. In fact, one out of every ten children in Malawi is an AIDS orphan. The United Nations declared the situation in Malawi "as one of the world's worst humanitarian crises".

Part of the reason for the chronic underdevelopment inside Malawi was the mismanagement of the economy by President Hastings Kamuzu Banda for thirty years after the country's independence. However, after he left power in the 1990s, political stability has provided a footing for a reformation of the country with the privatisation of many loss making state run institutions. Uranium exports are also helping to boost export earnings in a move away from reliance on foreign humanitarian aid. The video above shows life inside Malawi with images of its people and landscapes set against a backdrop of traditional Malawi music. Click on the pictures left to see other images of life inside Malawi.


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