Freedom Day in Malawi
Although Freedom Day is a holiday that’s observed in many different countries around the world, in this article we’re going to discuss the celebration of this day in Malawi. This holiday falls on the 14th of June in this landlocked country located in southeastern Africa, and it was placed on this date to commemorate the first free election in 1994.
For decades, Malawi was ruled by a corrupt totalitarian regime that terrorized the populace and prevented people from being free. This holiday shouldn’t be confused with World Press Freedom Day, a holiday that falls on May 3rd every year in the country, or Malawi Independence Day, a holiday that falls on July 6th in Malawi.
The History Of Freedom Day In Malawi
In 1966, Malawi gained its independence from Great Britain. In 1968, a new constitution was drafted in the country and it officially became a single-party state. This made Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda, leader of the Malawi Congress Party, the country’s first president. In 1971, he would be declared president for life and he would retain that position using the help of the Malawi Congress Party’s paramilitary wing.
In 1993, growing domestic unrest forced Banda to allow a public referendum to come up for consideration. This referendum asked the people of Malawi to decide between the continued rule of the country by one party or a multi-party democracy.
On the 14th of June, approximately 63% of voters opted to end the one-party rule in favor of more democratic leadership. The following year, national elections were held on May 17th, and the United Democratic Front candidate. Bakili Muluzu would end up winning the presidency.
Fun Facts About Malawi
Below are some facts that we’ve learned about Malawi and would like to now share in the celebration of Freedom Day. We found the following facts to be quite interesting, so we placed them below in a bulleted list for everyone to enjoy.
- Although Malawi is landlocked, Lake Malawi takes up 9,424 square miles, so water is a prominent feature in this country.
- The “Big Five” African animals that can be found in this country include the African Lion, the African Elephant, the African Leopard, the Rhino, and the Cape Buffalo.
- Lilongwe is the capital of Malawi, but it was only established in 1906. It became the capital in 1975.
Observing Freedom Day In Malawi
Freedom Day isn’t technically a public holiday in Malawi, although it is traditionally a day when many people don’t have to work. It’s also a day when some businesses may be closed as well. This allows people to get together with friends and family members, or to attend some of the official events that happen on this day.