Learning about the Malawian culture



Malawi is one of the most well known countries in south eastern part of Africa and is very famous for its rich culture and customs among the whole continent. Now always remember that there is no single Malawian culture simply because there are so many tribes in this country. However, the Malawi culture all share some common customs and practices which will probably never die out.

The Malawians have a very unique set of languages and dialects that are actually very unique to the other people of the entire Africa. Now for those who do not know, the three main languages that are being spoken in the country are Chiyao, Chitimbuka, and Chichewa. Chichewa is known to be the most used language because the Chewa tribe, the tribe that created the language, makes up a very large population of the entire Malawi.

With regard to religion, the two dominant ones would be Christianity and Islam with Christianity being the more dominant one. However, usually the people practice their respective beliefs along with their own traditional practices. The remaining percentages are full on their traditional and tribal beliefs as their forefathers and ancestors were.

The Malawians also lived in huts and up until today, they still do. Even though some parts of the country has been hit by modernization of infrastructure, a lot of huts and longhouses still remain because many still like the traditional way of living. However, today people use cement and bricks instead of straw because the latter is much too flimsy.

The mystic dances are also another big part of the Malawian lifestyle because these dances were used for religious purposes. The Gule Wamkulu is one of the most popular dances as the ancient Malawians always used to do this dance in order to summon spirits. They would do this dance every time they needed to call a jungle spirit or a spirit of their relative.

Of course the Malawians also had dances that were more for entertainment and not for their religious purposes. One of their more popular dances is known as the Chitalele which is usually performed during the night by young women of the tribe. In fact, many tribes would actually gather in one spot and choose a representative to compete in a dance competition.

Lastly, one will always notice that the clothing of the women are extremely distinct as compared to other African tribes. They wear clothing that is known as a Chitenje which is a piece of clothing that is worn over a top and a skirt. It is actually a multipurpose piece of clothing that can be used as a baby carrier, pot holder, or even a basket.

So if one would want to learn about Malawi culture, then he should take a look at the most basic things about them. The most basic things like the language or the religion will be the ones that will tell the most about a certain ethnic group. This is because it is the basic things that every person in the country will share even if they all belong to different tribes.

© 2013, Timothy Ntilosanje. All rights reserved. – The views expressed here are purely those of the author and not necessarily those of the publishers. – Newstime Africa content cannot be reproduced in any form – electronic or print – without prior consent of the Publishers. Copyright infringement will be pursued and perpetrators prosecuted.

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