15 May 2023
Kamuzu Day was observed nationally during his 30-year reign. However, it lost national significance when he lost power in 1994
Thousands of people from all over Malawi gathered at Civo Stadium on May 14, 2022 to celebrate Kamuzu Day, a national holiday commemorating the life and achievements of Kamuzu Banda, the father and founder of the Malawi nation.
The State President of the Republic of Malawi, Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, and First Lady, Madam Monica Chakwera, led the nation in the celebration. Also in attendance were Vice President Right Honourable Dr Saulos Klaus Chilima, Tonse Alliance partners, government officials, the clergy, traditional chiefs, and thousands of Malawians from all walks of life.
Kamuzu Banda was born in 1898 in the British protectorate of Nyasaland, which later became Malawi. After studying medicine in the United States, he returned to Malawi to become a political leader and activist. He founded the Malawi Congress Party and led the country to independence from British rule in 1964, becoming the first president of Malawi. Kamuzu Banda was a strong and charismatic leader who left a lasting impact on the country and is still remembered as a hero by many Malawians today.
Kamuzu Day was observed nationally during his 30-year reign. However, it lost national significance when he lost power in 1994, and subsequent administrations scaled it down to a mere family event. Upon assuming office in 2020, President Chakwera brought back the significance of Kamuzu Day and restored it on the national calendar.
Addressing the people at the function, President Chakwera said Kamuzu’s life was worthy of emulation, and as a nation, we must build from where he left off. "Kamuzu had the courage to say no to foreign oppression, and we must celebrate and emulate that by rejecting every outsider who oppresses or mistreats Malawians in our own country. Kamuzu also had the courage to go to prison for the liberation of his people, and we must celebrate and emulate that by fighting for the public good, not for our personal interests," said Chakwera.
The festivities at the stadium included a worship service, traditional dances, live band music, skits, and a football match. The decision to hold the celebrations in different regions of Malawi in the future is a departure from previous years when they were held in one location. This change aims to bring the celebrations closer to the people and allow more Malawians to participate.
Kamuzu Banda is fondly remembered in Malawi as the father and founder of the nation for his contribution during the agitation against British colonial rule and the attainment of independence in 1963. He served as the country’s first Prime Minister in 1963 before becoming President a year later. Across Africa, he is renowned as one of the great Pan Africanists who led the independence wave on the continent together with Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, and Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia.