Malawians to celebrate Independence

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The country attained independence from the British in 1964 and thousands of its citizens based here are expected to converge on the Harare City Sports Centre to commemorate the attainment of self-rule.

Officially, Malawi celebrated its independence in Blantyre on July 6, at an event graced by several heads of state including President Robert Mugabe.

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Winston Kamanga, MNA chairperson, said the commemorations would help raise awareness about the need for identity and pride in one’s country. “Some Malawians on foreign soil, like citizens of any country in a similar situation, shy away from identifying themselves with their countries of origin and in worst cases lose faith in their nation.

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“These independence commemorations, the first of their kind in this country, will help Malawians discover one another, share ideas and work towards the development of Malawi and Zimbabwe, their second home,” said Kamanga.

High profile Malawi officials will address the commemorations. The association was formed in 2010 and is organising the event in collaboration with the Malawi Embassy in Harare.

Though Kamanga could not disclose the association’s membership, he said people of Malawian origin in Zimbabwe ran into millions. They emigrated here over the years in search of work – mainly on commercial farms, mines and the national railways.

The Association plans to establish a centre in Harare where it will showcase the nation’s culture and facilitate sharing of ideas among members.

According to Kamanga, some Malawians in the country were reluctant to reveal their identities, resulting in them encountering economic and social problems that could be solved by the association.

 

The association, which is selling regalia for members to wear at the occasion, will provide members with business ideas, facilitate cross-border business activities and assist with burials, among other activities.

The association is non-partisan and draws membership from all Malawians, regardless of their political affiliation. It works with the Malawian government of the day.

Zimbabweans in the Diaspora generally do not hold mass independence celebrations like Malawians plan to do in Harare.

Observers said, unlike the Malawians who were mainly voluntary migrants, the majority of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora were either economic or political refugees and did not want to identify with their home country’s independence celebrations.

Mjobise Noko, Zapu spokesperson, said Malawians had their country at heart since it had never offended them, hence the celebrations. Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, said Noko, had nothing to celebrate for the country’s independence as they were not free.

“Zimbabweans in the Diaspora are economic refugees and the country has no good image there. Malawians have every reason to celebrate so should be allowed to do so,” Noko said.

Mili Thakur