On Saturday 20th July, African Women’s & Families Network (AWAFN) will join Malawians and their friends will gather to celebrate a very important day in the history of Malawi – Their Independence which was attained on 6th July 1964, from United Kingdom. This celebration is their way of expressing gratitude and appreciation for those who fought for their freedom.
The Victoria Association of Malawians and Friends (VAOMAF) is a not for profit organization of Malawians and friends who share common interests in living harmoniously for the common good of their wellbeing and Victoria.
We also support VAOMAF in inviting you to this unique celebration. Please, join us in celebrating the lessons learnt so far and the achievements of Great minds from Malawi in Victoria and the rest of the world.
This year’s celebrations are under the theme: “Celebrating Our Freedom with Peace, Unity and Love.”
The territory of what is now Malawi was inhabited by a very small number of hunter-gatherers before the mass migration of Bantu peoples around the 10th century. Around the end of the 16th century, the tribes established the Kingdom of Maravi that included parts of present-day Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. The first Europeans to come into contact with the people of Malawi were the Portuguese. Following the contact, the Maravi Empire began to trade iron, ivory and slaves with the Portuguese and Arabs.
In the 19th century, two powerful groups, the Angoni and the Yao, entered the region. Their arrival caused the decline of the Maravi Empire in the mid-19th century. Around this time, Scottish explorer and missionary David Livingstone reached Lake Nyasa (now Lake Malawi). Following his visit, several Christian missions were established in the area over the next two decades.
After the arrival of British missionaries, the Portuguese government became more interested in the area. To prevent the Portuguese from occupying the region, the British government sent a consul there, instructing him to make treaties with local rulers. In 1889, the United Kingdom proclaimed a protectorate over the Shire Highlands, expanding it two years later to include the whole of modern Malawi. Originally named the British Central Africa Protectorate, it was renamed Nyasaland in 1907.
In 1944, the Africans of Nyasaland formed the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC) to promote local interests to the British government. In 1953, Britain created the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, also known as the Central African Federation, by linking Nyasaland with Northern and Southern Rhodesia. Although the Federation had a semi-independent administration, the linking was opposed by African nationalists, which helped the NAC gain popular support.
In 1958, Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda, an influential opponent of the Federation, returned to Malawi after living abroad for more than three decades and assumed leadership of the NAC. In early 1959, Banda was arrested and the NAC was banned. Orton Chirwa founded the Malawi Congress Party (MAC) and assumed leadership until Banda’s release from prison.
In 1961, the MCP won the majority of seats in the 1961 elections to the Nyasaland Legislative Council. After a series of negotiations, Britain agreed to grant Nyasaland the right to self-governance. The Federation was dissolved in 1963, and on July 6, 1964 Nyasaland gained independence from Britain and renamed itself Malawi. Exactly two years later, Malawi adopted a new constitution, becoming a republic.
Malawi Independence Day is the country’s national holiday. It is marked with flag hoisting ceremonies, political rallies, patriotic speeches, military parades, and various celebratory public events. Since its a day off for the general population, it is common to spend it bonding with one’s family and friends.
Hence, join us and celebrate the day at Kensington Town Hall, Kensington.
We join also VAOMAF in being thankful to our sponsors Victorian Multicultural Commission, our partners and supporters such as Pan African Australasian Diaspora Network, AASO, UPAVA, Liberian Youth Association of Victoria, FARREP, Somaliland Women’s Group, Somali Community, Federation South Sudanese Association Victoria, African Australian Communities Leadership Forum, Sierra Leone Community, Africa Day Australia, Change Architects, Community in Abundance, AAWB and many others for making this year’s Celebration possible.
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