People & Culture
Cooking & Recipes |
Art & Craft
Malawi is often
called the "warm heart of Africa." because of the warms and friendliness of the
people. Malawians typically live with their extended families in huts that are
grouped together in villages. A spirit of cooperation prevails as family
members share both work and resources.
Malawi has a population of about
10,000,416 (July 1999 est.), with 90% of the population living in the rural
areas, and population growth rate of 1.57% (1999 est.).
people are of Bantu origin with the ethnic groups including Chewa, Nyanja, Yao,
Tumbuka, Lomwe, Sena, Tonga, Ngoni, Ngonde, Asian and European.
Chichewa (Chewa) people forming the largest part of population group and are
largely in the central and southern parts of the country.
people are predominately found around the southern area of Lake
Tumbuka are found mainly in the north of the
There are very small populations of Asian and European people
living mainly in the cities.
Malawi National Anthem
Words of the
Malawi National Anthem
English is the official language and is
very widely spoken, particularly in main towns, but sometimes also in remote
Chichewa is the common
national tongue widely used throughout the country where, from 1968 until
recently, it has served as the national language.
Chichewa words/phrases and their meanings in
University of Malawi
for Language Studies - to promote and develop Malawian languages - offers
courses in intense Chichewa
Of the other languages spoken in Malawi,
Tumbuka is spoken by about 500,000 people in the north, and Yao is spoken by
about 600,000 people in the south.
Chichewa Online dictionary
Chichewa Language Books
--> Buy from USA
--> Buy from
Interested in learning Chichewa - browse through a selection of books
Chewa people, who form the largest part of the population predominantly
Christian/Protestant and the Yao people are mainly Muslim
groups in Malawi can be broken down aproximately as follow:
Roman Catholic 20%
for traditional indigenous beliefs
and other minor religions 5%
COOKING & RECIPES
The staple diet is white
maize eaten with vegetables and, on occasion, fish or meat.
Nsima - Staple Food
Mbatata Biscuits - sweet
--> more recipes from
Nthochi (banana) Bread
Mbatata (sweet potato)
Mtedza (peanut) Puffs
Zitumbuwa (banana fritters)
Cook a traditional Malawian
The music traditions of Malawi are rich with
cultural influences that include those of the Zulu Ngoni people from South
Africa, the Islamic Yao people of Tanzania and others.
Most tribes have
their own individual songs and dances. Common musical instruments found include
drums, the mambilira, (which is similar to the western xylophone) rattles of
different types and sizes, shakers which are tied to dancers' legs and arms and
are often know as maseche.
| Recommended Book
||Dancing Prophets : Musical Experience
in Tumbuka Healing (amazon.com) -
USA (amazon.co.uk) - UK
For the Tumbuka people of Malawi,
traditional medical practices are saturated with music. In this ground breaking
ethnography, Steven M. Friedson explores a health care system populated by
dancing prophets, singing patients, and drummed spirits
--> click for a selection of
Malawin music to buy from USA
--> click for a selection of Malawin music to
buy from UK
ART & CRAFT
Malawi produces various colourful
arts and crafts which are handworked to a high standard. There are many craft
markets spread throughout the country and along the roadsides.
chairs are a very popular item and can be found throughout the country.
The batiks in particular capture the vibrancy of Malawian culture,
depicting the traditional with a modern appeal. Batik cloth prints are created
using a traditional wax resist dyeing process.