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Malawi

Republic of Malawi

Last modified: 2010-09-19 by bruce berry
Keywords: malawi | sun |
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image by Martin Grieve, 12 August 2010

Other Malawian pages

  • Malawi historical flags

            - Previous flag (1964-2010)

            - British Central Africa Protectorate
            - Nyasaland

See also:

Malaŵi flag (2010 - )
 

The Protected Flags, Emblems and Names Amendment Bill was signed by President Bingu wa Mutharika on 29 July 2010 which resulted in a new national flag being adopted to replace the flag which had been used since independence in July 1964.
Ralph Kelly, 31 July 2010

 

According to the Under Secretary in the Ministry of Information in Lilongwe, the symbolism of the colours of the stripes remains the same as for the previous flag.  The pantone shades and proportions also remain unchanged.  The modified sun is said to represent the economic development and progress which the country has achieved since independence.

Bruce Berry, 02 August 2010

 

According to various newspaper articles in the Nyasa Times, Africa News and The Nation, there has been widespread opposition to the change in the national flag of Malawi.

Chrystian Kretowicz, 31 July 2010

 

Africanews.com (29 July 2010) reports that Malawian president Bingu wa Mutharika has given the nod to change the national flag of the Southern African country, according to the Speaker for the National Assembly, Henry Chimunthu-Banda. The news follows wa Mutharika's assent to the Flag Change Bill after a 21-day grace period.  We wish to inform the general public that His Excellency the State President Bingu wa Mutharika assented to the Flag change Bill. This is one of the many Bills that Mutharika has signed," Chimunthu-Banda said.

"We are not changing the flag. We are simply modifying it. Government consultations show that most people would like the flag to change to the proposed one," said Minister Reckford Thotho.

Civil Society Organizations argue resources put to the change would better be utilized to cover health, education, and agricultural needs of the majority of the people. They added the change, argued by government to reflect the development that Malawi has gone through since independence, was a mockery as Malawi was still far from a developed nation.  "We are a pathetic lot thinking we have reached a stage where we should change the flag to reflect political, development and social development in the country. We are very far behind and this only shows as
Malawians we have no ambition," expressed Mavuto Bamusi, of a Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC).

 

Opposition parties led by the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) which is the second largest in the House, walked out in protest when majority ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) representatives voted yes to change the flag on 2nd July 2010.


The new flag features a full white sun in the centre of horizontal stripes of red, black and green. The original flag has the black, red and green stripes with a rising red sun in the top black stripe.   Pro-flag change pundits say this is a welcome development and government is expected to launch the new controversial flag soonest - affecting all documents and murals that feature the national symbol.
Submitted by Bruce Berry, 30 July 2010

 

The Nyasa Times reports that the proposed flag change has been taken to court by the UDF-oppositon.
J. Patrick Fischer, 11 July 2010


The Nyasa Times (02 July 2010) reports that the parliament of Malawi approved earlier this month a Bill to change the national flag.  The red sun in the top stripe will be replaced by a white sun in the middle of the flag, over all three stripes, which will now be red, black and green.

It was intended that the new flag will be introduced on Malawi independence day, 06 July,  but I have seen no proof that this happened.
Jos Poels, 08 July 2010

 

Proposed changes to the flag of Malawi were reported in the Nyasa Times of 11 February 2010.
Government spokesman, Reckford Thotho said authorities proposed to change the national flag replacing the rising sun with a full sun and change some colours "symbolising the development that has taken place."

Said the Information Minister: "The essence of changing the national flag is that times have changed since 1964 when Malawi adopted the flag on attaining its independence.  "The symbol of the rising sun that time made a lot of sense because it was dawn for freedom and hope. But there has been a lot of development that has taken place since and we cannot still be at dawn."

However, a Blantyre based lawyer, who is also executive director of Justice Link Justin Dzonzi, has appealed to government of President Bingu wa Mutharika to "simply resists the temptation" to change the features of the national flag.  "I think it's a national issue and basically as a national issue it must have a national support for the change. The changes must be that the nation needs the change," said Dzonzi.

"It's not just a matter of preference for one individual. I don't think the colours of our national flag have been subject of debate," he pointed out. The legal expert said any changes of features on the national flag should be based on solid and acceptable reasons.

"The rationale behind any change must be such change that is significant to Malawi," he said.
Bruce Berry, 12 Feb 2010

 

The proposal seems to be to replace a unique, attractive, and extremely distinctive flag (the current one) with one which looks more like other flags, and in doing so clutter up the design with a fourth colour.  I note that very few of those leaving their comments on the web page seem to support the proposal.
James Dignan, 12 Feb 2010

 

According to the Panafrican News Agency (PANA) (30 Dec 1998) the Malawi government has plans for a change of national the flag. These were, however, put on hold in late January 1999, according to the Africa News Network. The flag change was planned because the current flag is derived from the former flag of the main opposition (and former ruling) party, the Malawi Congress Party, except for the rising sun. The article further mentions that MCP "three years ago" changed its flag to one which is all-green with a black cock in the middle of a white circle.
Mark Sensen, 04 Jan 1999
 


Flag specification

 

image by Martin Grieve, 12 August 2010


The Malawi Government sent Flagcraft (a South African flag manufacturer) the official specifications for the new flag which have been used to prepare a specification and construction sheet. The only dimensions the authorities gave are the overall ratio (2:3). 
The colours are given as:
Green Pantone P355U
Red Pantone P485C
Black

Hoist width : 600 units
Length: 900 units
Outer Diameter of circle encompassing rays: 330 units
Inner Diameter of circle encompassing rays: 196 units
Diameter of Sun's photosphere: 160 units

The charge is centrally positioned on the flag.
Martin Grieve, 11 August 2010

 

The sun on the new Malawi flag has 45 rays. I do not believe that there is any symbolism in the number, however I note that 45 rays results in the rays being an exact 8 degrees of rotation apart. Other numbers of rays result in odd fractions of the angles of rotation.
Ralph Kelly, 11 August 2010
 


Malaŵi Coat of Arms (1964 -  )
 

[Malawi Coat of Arms] image provided by Jarig Bakker, 01 Jun 2002

The Malawi Coat of Arms were adopted at independence and are described and illustrated in the Protected Flag, Emblems and Names Act (1964) - First Schedule Part II:

Blazon:

For Arms, per fess barry wavy Azure and Argent and Sable on a fess Gules a lion passant and in base a sun rising Or: and for the Crest: On a wreath Or and Gules on water barry wavy Azure and Argent in front of a sun rising Or a fish eagle rising proper, and for Supporters: On the dexter side a lion and on the sinister side a leopard both guardant, upon a compartment representing the Mlanje mountain proper, together with the motto: Unity and Freedom.

Bruce Berry, 05 Jan 1999

The national crest has the rising sun at the top and bottom, representing the dawn of freedom in Africa. The fish eagle and wavy bands on the shield symbolise Lake Malawi while the lion and the leopard guard the crest as a whole. The land at the base is the rugged Mlanje mountain. The crest bears the motto 'Unity and Freedom'.
Jarig Bakker, 01 Jun 2002