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Englund_A Democracy of Chameleons_ Politics and Culture in the New Malawi

Englund_A Democracy of Chameleons_ Politics and Culture in the New Malawi

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Published by Ozzy Chinoda
After thirty years of autocratic rule under ”Life President” Kamuzu Banda, Malawians experienced a transition to multiparty democracy in 1994. A new constitution and several democratic institutions promised a new dawn in a country ravaged by poverty and injustice.

This book presents original research on the economic, social, political and cultural consequences of the new era. The book engages with a culture of politics in order to expand the purview of critical analysis from the elite to the populace in its full diversity. A new generation of scholars, most of them from Malawi, cover virtually every issue causing debate in the New Malawi: poverty and hunger, the plight of civil servants, the role of the judiciary, political intolerance and hate speech, popular music as a form of protest, clergy activism, voluntary associations and ethnic revival, responses to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and controversies over women’s rights. Both chameleon-like leaders and the donors of Malawi’s foreign aid come under critical scrutiny for supporting superficial democratization.

The book ends with a rare public statement on the New Malawi by Jack Mapanje, Malawi’s internationally acclaimed writer. Dismayed at the continuation of an ”oral culture of dictatorship”, Mapanje urges Malawians to confront their past in order to have a future that is free from fear and intolerance.Anyone interested in politics and culture in sub-Saharan Africa will find this book an important source of insight and detailed analysis for a comparative understanding of Africa’s democratization.
After thirty years of autocratic rule under ”Life President” Kamuzu Banda, Malawians experienced a transition to multiparty democracy in 1994. A new constitution and several democratic institutions promised a new dawn in a country ravaged by poverty and injustice.

This book presents original research on the economic, social, political and cultural consequences of the new era. The book engages with a culture of politics in order to expand the purview of critical analysis from the elite to the populace in its full diversity. A new generation of scholars, most of them from Malawi, cover virtually every issue causing debate in the New Malawi: poverty and hunger, the plight of civil servants, the role of the judiciary, political intolerance and hate speech, popular music as a form of protest, clergy activism, voluntary associations and ethnic revival, responses to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and controversies over women’s rights. Both chameleon-like leaders and the donors of Malawi’s foreign aid come under critical scrutiny for supporting superficial democratization.

The book ends with a rare public statement on the New Malawi by Jack Mapanje, Malawi’s internationally acclaimed writer. Dismayed at the continuation of an ”oral culture of dictatorship”, Mapanje urges Malawians to confront their past in order to have a future that is free from fear and intolerance.Anyone interested in politics and culture in sub-Saharan Africa will find this book an important source of insight and detailed analysis for a comparative understanding of Africa’s democratization.

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Published by: Ozzy Chinoda on Dec 25, 2009
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09/25/2010

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A DEMOCRACY OF CHAMELEONS
 
Politics and Culture in the New Malawi
 
Edited by Harri EnglundAfterword by Jack Mapanje
 
 
Copublished in Malawi byChristian Literature Association in Malawi (CLAIM/MABUKU), BlantyreISBN 99908-16-49-2 (Kachere Book No. 14)Cover photo: The police use tear-gas to disrupt an opposition meeting in Blantyre in January 2001.Photograph taken by Julius BonexLanguage checking: Elaine Almén@ the authors and Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, 2002ISBN 91-7106-499-0Printed in Sweden by Elanders Gotab, Stockholm 2002
Indexing terms
Civil societyCultureDemocratisationHuman rightsPoliticsPovertyMalawi
 
 Didn’t you say we should trace your footprints unmindful of quagmires, thickets and riversuntil we reached your nsolo tree? Why does your mind boggle:Who will offer another gourd Who will force another stepTo hide our shame? You’ve chanted yourselves hoarseChilembwe is gone in your dust Stop lingering then:Who will start another fire? 
 Jack Mapanje, “Before Chilembwe Tree” (1981)
 Dzana ndi dzulo takhalira kuphedwa
 Yesterday, and the other day, we’re being killed
 Lero tikhalira kunamizidwa
 Today we are cheated
 Nanga titani poti anthu ndi omwewo
What can we do since it is the same people
  Angosintha njira zotizunzira
 They’ve only changed ways of torturing us
  Ali ndi njira zawo
 They have their own waysLucius Banda, “Njira Zawo” (1995)

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