Hastings Kamuzu Banda

From Academic Kids

Hastings Banda
Hastings Banda

Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda (1896November 25, 1997) was the founding President and former dictator of Malawi.

Banda trained as a doctor in Scotland, having been raised as a Presbyterian, and spent many years living in the United Kingdom. On his return to the then Nyasaland, he was unable to speak his native Chinyanja fluently and needed an interpreter. He campaigned against the Central African Federation, which was dissolved in 1963 and led the country to independence as Malawi.

He became Prime Minister on February 1, 1963, becoming President in 1966, when Malawi was declared a republic. He declared himself President for Life in 1971.

During his one-party rule, Banda accumulated at least US$320 million in personal assets. He was one of the few African rulers to establish diplomatic ties with South Africa during apartheid and only became partially rehabilitated in the eyes of other African leaders after the demise of the apartheid regime in South Africa.

He caused some amusement to Malawians in the early 1980s, when he banned the Simon and Garfunkel song Cecilia from the radio. This was at a time when his relationship with his mistress, Cecilia Tamanda Kadzamira, was going through a rocky period, and he clearly did not like the lyrics of the song ("Cecilia/I'm down on my knees/I'm begging you please to come home"). Banda's conservatism meant that television did not arrive in the country until the early 1990s.

He also used his presidential power to institute a dress code for all citizens of Malawi, which many foreign visitors found strange. For example, women were not allowed to bare their thighs and trousers were not allowed. For men, long hair was a sign of dissent and thus also outlawed. Men could be seized and forced to have a haircut on the discretion of border officials or police.

One of his achievements included the establishment of a school modelled on Eton, called the Kamuzu Academy, in which Malawian children were taught Latin and Ancient Greek by expatriate Classics teachers.

Banda finally allowed democratic elections in 1994, and he was soundly defeated by Bakili Muluzi, a Yao from the Southern Region of the country whose two terms in office were not without serious controversy. Banda died in a hospital in South Africa in 1997, aged 101. The party he established, the Malawi Congress Party, continued after his death and remains a major force in Malawi politics.

External link

Preceded by:
President of Malawi
Succeeded by:
Bakili Muluzi

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