Malawi, officially known as the Republic of Malawi, is a landlocked country in south-eastern Africa. It is bordered by Mozambique on the east and south-west, by Tanzania on the north and northeast, and by Zambia on the west and northwest. Lake Malawi, one of the largest and deepest lakes in the world, accounts for almost one-fifth of the country’s area. The lake is third largest of the East African Rift Valley and also known as the Lake of Stars as it is rated one of the most beautiful fresh water lakes in the world.
Three regions demarcate Malawi – Northern, Central and South-ern. Lilongwe City in central Malawi is the national and administrative capital. Blantyre City is the provincial capital of the Southern province and the country’s commercial and manufacturing hub. Mzuzu is the main town in the Northern province. Zomba, the former political capital and a trading centre between Blantyre and Lilongwe was declared a city in 2008.
Malawi has a vast range of geographical features, with high plateaus in the north and central areas and mountains to the south.
The country boasts a diverse array of flora and fauna made up of a variety of woodlands, tropical rain forests, open savannah high altitude grasslands and scrub. There are two main seasons, cold-dry and hot-wet. The hot-wet season is from November to April. Climate varies with topography with temperatures averaging 14 to 32 degrees Celsius.
Malawi remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with a Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.418, ranking 170 out of 187 countries (UNDP 2013 HDR). Life expectancy stands at about 54.8 years and the country is marked by high levels of vulnerability including poor nutrition. HIV/AIDS is among the most intense in the world with a prevalence of 10.6 percent and over a million people living with the disease.
The Flag of Malawi
The Meaning of the Flag
The colors of and symbols of the flag of Malawi hold significant symbolism. There is a rising sun featured prominently on the flag which symbolizes the dawn of freedom and hope for all of Africa. The colors represent the indigenous people (black), the blood shed during the struggle for independence (red), and nature (green).
Colors of the Flag
There are three colors used in the national flag of Malawi. The triband background features horizontal bands of black, red and green. Black is representative of the indigenous people throughout the continent, while red represents the country’s struggles and green is symbolic of nature. There is also a red rising sun located at the top of the flag within the black band.
History of the Flag
At the end of the 19th century, the nation that is now Malawi used the flag of the British Central Africa Protectorate. This flag was in use until 1914. After this, Malawi became the colony of Nyasaland and had its own flag. This flag was similar to the previous flag with the exception of the emblem. This version was used until 1919, when another version bearing another emblem was adopted. That version was used for nearly 50 years, until 1964. When Nyasaland gained its independence from the British, it renamed itself as Malawi and adopted a new national flag. This flag has been used since 1964.
The Coat of Arms of Malawi