Malawi’s Lost Years (1964-1994):
and Her Forsaken Heroes
We are indignant that the dictator, Kamuzu Banda, is praised as a saviour, while brave heroes from the independence struggle are ignored in Malawi’s history. It has been over 20 years since Dr Banda and his cronies were forced from power by a popular uprising and international pressure. We are offended that the current leadership of Malawi has been rehabilitating Banda’s image and honouring him despite the well documented stories of the regime’s atrocities and abuse of human rights.
We feel it important to redress this unfair revision of Malawian history. We are working to tell the story of Malawi’s detainees, exiles and those who suffered in silence under the Banda regime’s state of terror. Their stories are largely untold and we want to give them the place on the stage they deserve. A major motivation and urgency behind the project is to record reminisces from the various respondents, before old age intervenes to make potential respondents unavailable or incapable of recalling and sharing their respective experiences. We are trying to find as many of these survivors as possible to tell their version of life under Banda, from the nationalist struggle, through independence to the implantation of the dictatorship, and now under a twisted and distorted democracy.
The Malawi people, in greater numbers than ever, continue to suffer in absolute poverty, while the political leadership follows in Banda’s footsteps and grow rich through corruption and profiteering from the public wealth and their control of the levers of power. The culture of impunity and official amnesia is the same as what Banda used to make himself fabulously wealthy and is accepted as their entitlement by today’s leaders.
These are not easy stories to tell and people in power do not want them to be made public. Your contribution to exposing the truth is part of the calling to account leaders anywhere and everywhere who hide behind their authority despite riding to power through abuse of the people they are supposed to protect and develop.
We hope that you will agree with us that these histories must be openly faced, discussed and acknowledged as lessons for the future. Sweeping abuse under the carpet does not bring freedom and justice, it leaves the house very dirty.
Malawi’s Lost Years (1964-1994): and Her Forsaken Heroes
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