oa Alternation - The Use of Vernacular Languages in the Malawian Literary Industry

Volume 5, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



Malawi's political history took a new turn in 1994 when the first post-independence multiparty elections were held marking the end of a one party dictatorship and the birth of multiparty politics. The thirty years of the one party state in Malawi (1964-1994) led to a number of negative developments such as peoples' loss of various freedoms and rights (e.g. freedom of expression). Very tough censorship laws crippled the country's literary industry and the language policy played a significant role in retarding the growth of literature in Malawi. English and Chichewa operated as the only officially recognised 'languages of the pen' in Malawi. I will examine the consequences of this post-colonial language policy for the Malawian literary industry, and suggest possible ways forward. Now that Malawi is economically and politically liberalised, efforts should be taken to promote creative writing in the once marginalised languages.

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