alawi’s past, present and future captured in this great photo taken during Malawi's 48th independence celebrations, July 6, 2012. From left: Former Official Hostess Mama Cecilia Kadzamira, who was always on the side of Malawi’s first president Hastings Kamuzu Banda. To Mama’s left is human rights activist and lawyer Vera Chirwa. Vera’s husband, Orton, founded the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and drafted the country's first constitution. Orton handed over MCP leadership to Kamuzu who turned against MCP founding members who had invited him from abroad to come and help liberate Malawi, then Nyasaland, from British colonial rule. Orton and Vera fled into exile and were in 1981 abducted from Zambia by Banda’s security agents. They were charged with treason and sentenced to death but following international pressure their sentences were commuted to life. Orton died in prison as Malawians, led by Catholic Bishops and trade unionist Chakufwa Chihana, called for political reforms. The country voted for democracy in a referendum 1993 and the first free elections in 30 years were held in 1994. Next to Vera is Rose Chibambo who organised women in the fight for independence. While pregnant, Chibambo was jailed by the colonial rulers and she gave birth to her 5th child while in captivity. She was the first woman minister in Malawi’s new cabinet after independence in 1964. Next to Chibambo is Malawi’s new President, Her Excellency Mrs. Joyce Banda, the country first and Africa’s second female head of state. To Pres Banda’s left is Malawi’s First Gentleman, Retired Chief Justice Richard Banda.
---©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.