In the Warm Heart
It is said that the school children of Blantyre, Malawi's first city by population (the capital Lilongwe is its second) and the main commercial and industrial centre, speak English with a Scottish accent. This singularity is more easily comprehended when we learn that the Malawian city was founded in 1876
by the missionary David Livingstone, who was born in the other, Scottish, Blantyre, located south of Glasgow.
Curious Zebra (2015)
by Winston Chapweteka
Livingstone was also the first Westerner to reach the shores of the great Lake Nyasa (now Lake Malawi), whose waters cover almost a quarter of the country’s surface area, in total about 118,000 square kilometres in the southern part of the Rift Valley, between Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique.
Village Scene (2015) by Palichi Dunamis Kumwenda
The extended presence of the British, until the mid-twentieth century, influenced not only the language – English is the official language, Chichewa the most widely spoken – but also religion, with more than 80 percent of the population (over 16 million people) declaring themselves Christian, with a majority of Protestants and 20 percent Catholics. And here they drink beer, traditionally produced in the region using corn, while football is by far the most popular sport.
The Most Wanted Liquid (2015)
by Peter Chikondi
Malawi today is a very young country; the average age of the population is only 16 years old, and it continues to rely above all on agriculture, which employs 90 percent of the Malawian workforce.
The Endurance of Africa (2015)
by David Samuel Kachepa
The country’s main products are tobacco, accounting for 70 percent of exports, and the tea grown in the Shire Highlands, emerald green hills covered with plantations. Malawi is, in fact, one of the largest tea producers in the world and, along with Sri Lanka, India, Kenya, Indonesia and Rwanda, is part of a sort of ‘OPEC of tea’.
Night Beauty (2015) by Kid Yadidi
According to a Harvard University study, Malawi is also one of the seven economies of the Eastern region of Africa with the greatest growth potential, thanks to significantly better conditions than other areas, with a contained deficit, a good quality, low-cost supply of labour and an advantageous geographic location. But one only has to glimpse the pale blue waters of Lake Malawi, which the fishermen ply with canoes carved from tree trunks just as they did hundreds of years ago, to realize that the beautiful landscape is not a simple backdrop, but the true, possible source of wealth and prosperity of the country.
Glass of Water (2015)
by Mcdonald F. Kamunda
The third largest lake in Africa is a sparkling expanse of water, rich in colourful fish (the vast majority of the inhabitants of domestic aquariums around the world hail from here), with scattered islets and rocks. And long beaches of fine white sand, like a corner of the Indian Ocean.
African (Lady) Woman (2015)
by Fyson Malola
‘The warm heart of Africa’, therefore, is not just a Malawian tourist slogan. And if Madonna, adopting two Malawian children, brought it a fleeting notoriety, a trip to the country could represent a lasting encounter with an Africa that is as simple as it is magical. Eight hundred kilometres long, a wide variety of landscapes: splendid highlands, wild savannahs, rivers, forests, lakes, mountains, plantations and protected national parks.
Lake Scene (2015)
by Cliff Kantwanje
The Liwonde National Park, located in the central south of Malawi, extends along the Shire River, one of Africa’s few fully navigable rivers, on whose shores elephants and hippos, waterbuck and sable antelope, buffalo and zebras water. And where in any season the birds – in Malawi there are more than 650 species – provide an exceptional spectacle, so much so that the area is included in the exclusive list of the international IBA (Important Bird Areas).
Moonlight Dance (2015) by Moment Chaweza
Mount Mulanje, whose 3,050 metres make it the highest mountain in southern Africa, is a candidate for the title of World Heritage Site. The Malawians call it ‘the island in the sky’ for the unique landscapes that can be enjoyed from its heights, where the clouds appear as an endless sea. One of the many legends about this place suggests that the mountain is the creator of the wind and the spirits. It provided inspiration for the writer J.R.R. Tolkien, who, after a long journey to Malawi, produced The Hobbit and later The Lord of the Rings.
African Mask (2015)
by Francis M’Memo
Malawi also has a strong literary and poetic tradition, which has often attempted to merge African tradition with Western influences. As in the long poem by David Rubadiri that tells of the meeting between the African king Mutesa and the explorer Stanley, harbinger of a possible cultural symbiosis between the two civilizations.
African Bird (2015) by Blessings D. Sabili
But after decades of frustration and bitterness rising from the socio-political situation and the texts of new socially conscious and controversial poets like Jack Mapanje (“I was hungry and you have founded a club for humanitarian purposes and have discussed my hunger. I thank you ...”), young Malawian artists have embarked on the path of rediscovery of their culture, to become ambassadors of traditions whose roots lie in the ancient red cave paintings of the Twa tribe pygmies, dating back more than 2,500 years.
The Strength of a Woman (2015)
by Loveness Ndalama
This collection of over 140 10x12 centimetre artworks dedicated to Malawi confirms how the new generations, in particular, are increasingly aware of their roots and – avoiding Western models if possible, in life and in art – are trying to find themselves in the source of their origins.
Village of Malawi (2015)
by Emmanuel D. Kwenyani
When some curious soul asked the young Malawian painter Elson Kambalu what his abstract figures represent, he replied: “they represent all that you think, all that you see, you may decide. There are people who see a crowd, some see candles, some see mystical figures.”
The Group (2015)
by Dyles Allan Malimbasa
In the images, figurative or abstract, in the colours and inspirations of the Malawian artists in the Imago Mundi collection, lies the invitation to search within oneself, to commit, to take a personal look and more.
by Romeo Malizani Chaheka
In the Chewa branch of Bantu culture, the largest group in Malawi, the chameleon is the animal that symbolizes life. The chameleon has forward facing eyes, to look to the future. But it also sees behind: to never lose sight of the past. And to use it, when necessary, as a compass.