Blantyre wears new face as Malawi celebrate 48th Independence Day

A sociable mood has engulfed the commercial city of Blantyre as Malawi commemorates its  48th Independence Day  on Friday, 6th July.

This is despite the announcement by President Joyce Banda that government would this year not accord this historic day the rave review it has always been associated with.

The President said due to limited financial resources Malawians will commemorate the day through a National Service of Prayers to be held at the COMESA International Conference Centre in Blantyre where she will also be the guest of honour.

Blantyre City with Independence flags flying high. Photo by Jeromy Kadewere/Nyasa Times

According to the president, the country needs at least K100 million to conduct celebrations for the day as had been happening in the past.

Blantyre city is invitingly wearing a new face with the country’s 1964 national flag taking a centre stage as it flies along the major streets and in front grounds of various buildings.

The Blantyre City Council (BCC) has been busy beautifying its environs. Some buildings’ faces have nicely been draped in the half-rising-sun flag while some building owners have taken their own
initiative to hoist it on top of their structures.

As part of the independence commemorations, BCC has also fixed decoration lights in all the city’s major roundabouts.

The lights were officially switched on Wednesday evening at the Clock Tower in the heart of the city by a member of the organizing committee of the 48th Independence Commemoration Catherine Gotani Hara who is also Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

“This exercise is very important because it sets up the mood for the independence celebrations,” said Hara who conducted the event on behalf of chairperson of the organizing committee, Eunice Kazembe, herself a Minister of Education.

BCC Chief Executive Officer, Emmanuel Ted Nandolo said they have put in place a lot  of measures ensure to peaceful and memorable commemoration.

He said also that the city has made special efforts in ensuring cleanliness during and after the independence period.

The half-rising-sun flag was first hoisted in 1964 when the country got its independence from the British but it was changed in 2010, amid strong resistance from Malawians, by the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government and adopted a “new” flag that bears a full sun.

However, the new Peoples Party (PP) administration listened to the calls of Malawians to revert to the original 1964 national flag.

The climax of the celebrations will be at the Kamuzu Stadium later in the day where football lovers will be entertained to an international friendly football match between the Flames and reigning African champions, the Chipolopolo boys of Zambia.

The match will also be part of the two countries’ preparations for the forthcoming 2013 Africa Cup of Nations second round games whose draw was conducted in South Africa on Thursday, July 5 where Malawi was paired with Ghana.

As per tradition of games played on the Independence Day, spectators will watch the match free of charge.

Independence look of Blantyre city.Photo by Jeromy Kadewere/Nyasa Times

Down town Blantyre.Photo by Jeromy Kadewere/Nyasa Times

Malawi still developing: Second-hand clothes market in the city.Photo by Jeromy Kadewere/Nyasa Times

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