Malawi Dancing

Dancing in Malawi is epitomised by the Gule Wamkul as seen in this video. Its the traditional Malawi dance of the Chewa people and reflects the traditional belief of Malawi society in the existence of spirits. Dressed in cloth and animals skins, the dancing is usually performed wearing masks.

The dancers even kick up dust in a further attempt to disguise their identities and are traditionally only known to the chief who appointed them to safeguard the village from evil.

Whilst the Gule Wamkul is the most popular dancing

associated with Malawi, in the north of the country the Vimbuza is danced by the Timbuka people. This is a dance alleged to heal sick patients and is performed by healers and witch doctors. Reports indicate that the Vimbuza is gaining in popularity in recent years and is even being adopted by other tribes such as the Ngoni.

Ingoma dancing is one of the most popular dances amongst the Ngoni people of Malawi themselves and was originally performed to celebrate victory in battle with male performers wearing headgear and carrying a spear or club dancing in straight lines whilst the women danced alongside singing and clapping in support of the men's performance.

Malawi Children DancingOther popular dances in Malawi include the more recent Kalele or Bewni dancing developed during the world wars based on military parades and the Indingala dance imported into Malawi by the Nyakyusa and Ngonde people as they migrated there from Tanzania.

Music in Malawi is different from traditional African music in that it is heavily influenced by its British colonial past as well as its African roots in addition to influences from migrants travelling to and from the country particularly during the second world war.


Malawi Dancing

Malawi Dancing

Malawi Dancing

Malawi Dancing


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Malawi Dancing: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

However as the 1960s saw an explosion of new musical styles across the globe, Malawi was gripped by a puritanical dictatorship and all music was restricted to praise of then Malawi president, Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda. Since his fall in 1994, music has again flourished. Some of the best known musical artists from Malawi include Wambali Mkandawire, Lucius Banda, Tay Grin and Esau Mwamwaya. The video (above right) shows Malawi music at its best. Natural!


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