Countries That Have Never Qualified For The World Cup Discovering Malawi – The Land of Hippopotamuses

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Discovering Malawi – The Land of Hippopotamuses

I. Introduction

In June 2009 Madonna put Lou Ciccone — the world’s most successful singer —– who had never been mentioned in the world press in recent years — on the world map when she traveled to the Republic of Africa, which is just more than the state of Ohio, and adopted a daughter. And what do you know about this African nation?

II. Welcome to the Land of the Hippopotamuses

Malawi is a magical heavenly country, perfect for those who appreciate a natural way of life. This African country, with over 36% of its land still covered by tropical forests, has several national parks. Malawi wildlife refuges are home to antelopes, hyrax, elephants, zebras, giraffes, crocodiles, rhinoceros, lions, cheetahs, hippotamuses, and other animals.

Lake Malawi National Park has one of the most impressive landscapes in Africa. This lake has an area of ​​11,150km2 — it is almost 9 times the size of Rhode Island — with abundant native vegetation and wild animals such as hippos. Since the 1970s this area has been the focus of an important tourism industry. Many foreign tourists traveled to lake Nyasa – also known as Malawi – and other natural reserves every year to see and photograph the hippopotamuses that live there. This lake, one of the ten largest lakes in the world, has been compared to the Galapagos islands (Ecuador, South America) because of its wildlife. It has more wildlife than any other lake in the world. Lake Malawi, for example, has one of the highest densities of fish in the world (500 different types of fish, almost all endemic). This area is also a refuge for birds such as kingfishers, cormorants and fish eagles. Lake Malawi National Park was declared a Natural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in the year 1984.

The Chongoni Rock-Art Area is another famous tourist attraction.

III. A Brief History of Malawi

Landlocked Malawi, formerly Nyasaland, has been an independent country since the latter half of the 20th century. In the previous century, it had been ruled by the United Kingdom. In this period, Britain greatly influenced the economic and life of the country. Like many former British colonies, it is a member of the Commonwealth. Malawi has spent many of its post-independence years under dictatorial rule.

Between 1964 and 1994, Malawi was ruled by the dictator Hastings Kamuzu Banda, who established one of Africa’s worst kleptocracies. At the domestic level, he had also pursued a scorched earth policy against Asians and other minorities. During his ironclad rule of Malawi, he had close ties with white-ruled South Africa, a pariah state in the international community. SA was criticized for its government’s racist policies. In this period, the dictator of Malawi, Kamuzu Banda, made world headlines when he arrived in Pretoria to consult with South African leaders. Kamuzu Banda became the first and only African head of state to travel to an apartheid country. This visit was not parallel to the diplomatic world.

Soon after, the South African government sent economic aid to Malawi, one of the least developed countries on the African continent. Pretoria had certainly played a leading role in the country’s economy.

Without a doubt, Kamuzu Banda was one of the most hated leaders in the world. But in order to deflect international opinion, which had condemned his policy towards South Africa, the national government boycotted the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada.

At the same time, Kamuzu Banda aligned his country with the anti-Communist movement in Africa, along with Egypt, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya and Zaire (today’s Democratic Republic of the Congo). In this context, he established full diplomatic relations with Taiwan, a country not recognized by the United Nations. On August 4, 1967 President Kamuzu Banda went to Taipei for an official visit. During the Cold War, Malawi was an ally of Taiwan. On the other hand, the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II went to Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, for an official visit in 1989.

The dictatorship ended after 30 years and Malawi became a new democratic country. On May 17, 1994 Malawi held its first multi-party presidential election and Bakili Muluzu became head of state. This landlocked country is one of the few democracies in the African region. In 2004 Bingu wa Mutharika won the second free elections. In 2008 he – the country’s second president after the Cold War – granted diplomatic recognition to the People’s Republic of China against Taipei’s opposition.

This landlocked country is one of the most peaceful nations in Africa. Unlike most of its neighbours, Malawi has never had civil wars or coup d’etats. Malawi is a haven for refugees from Mozambique, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

IV. Human Development

With a population of over 9,000,000 and an area of ​​45,700 square miles — almost 3 times the size of Switzerland — Malawi is located in southeast Africa. It is one of the most populated sections of the African continent. Lilongwe is the capital.

The Chewa are Malawi’s largest ethnic group. They dominate Nyanja, Lomwe, Bantu and other minorities.

Unlike much of Africa the country is not blessed with mineral resources. But this country is endowed with extremely fertile soil. Malawi’s economy is mainly based on agriculture.

The former dictatorship has ruined the economy and turned Malawi into a poor country. This nation is one of the eighteen poorest nations in the world. Since becoming an independent country in 1964, it has had difficulty solving its human development (education, employment, public health, nutrition). In 2008 Malawi was ranked 162 out of 179 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index, ahead of Ethiopia, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The World Health Organization (OMS) says life expectancy is 35 for women and 36 for men – one of the lowest in the Third World. According to the United Nations and other international organizations, more than 10% of the adult population has HIV/AIDS. It had one of the highest infection rates in Africa in the last decade.

V. Sports

Soccer is the national sport in the country, but Malawi has never qualified for the FIFA World Cup. However, the national team won a bronze medal at the African Games in Nairobi, Kenya – Malawi’s best ever result. Unfortunately, it has still not produced world class athletes or African title holders. In Beijing 2008, Malawi was poorly represented by four athletes (Chauncy Master, Lucia Chandamale, Charlton Nyirenda, Zahra Pinto). This was Malawi’s eight participation in the Summer Olympics – Munich 1972, Los Angeles 1984, Seoul 1988, Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996, Australia 2000, Greece 2004, China 2008.

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