Malawi

A chronology of key events in the history of Malawi from the first century AD to the present day.

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Boy who harnessed the wind says watching the film was 'challenging'

William Kamkwamba at a press conference at the Berlin Film Festival
EPA

William Kamkwamba, the Malawian who inspired the Netflix movie The Boy who Harnessed the Wind, has said he had "mixed feelings" watching it.

Interviewed on the BBC's Newsday, he said that watching the film was "challenging" because it was like reliving his story.

Growing up in a rural village in northern Malawi, Mr Kamkwamba, now 31, dropped out of school due to a famine and did not return as his family could not afford the fees.

Wanting to continue his education, he read books in the village library and discovered an interest in electronics.

Aged 13, Mr Kamkwamba found the components to build a wind turbine which created enough electricity to fuel some devices in his family home.

Asked if he earned any money from the film, he said: "It's more about getting a lot of people to learn about this story."

Mr Kamkwamba said he is now setting up an innovation centre for young Malawians.

"When I was building the windmill I didn't have anyone to reach out to," he said.

He wants to inspire young inventors and provide them with the expertise to make their inventions a reality.

Thousands in relief camps as Malawi struck by floods

People shelter in a relief camp as their homes have been destroyed
Mandinda Zungu

Thousands of Malawians are currently in relief camps, hundreds injured and 30 have died following heavy rains and flooding over the weekend.

President Peter Mutharika declared a state of disaster late on Friday as a storm caused rivers to break their banks, flooding entire villages, destroying homes and causing power blackouts.

The south of the country was particularly badly hit, as well as regions of Mozambique.

Emergency relief services have been put in place and the Malawian army have been helping to recover people who have been trapped.

Although dry weather has set in for the last two days, a cyclone is expected to hit the country tonight, causing more destruction.

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Children attempt to dry out their school books after they were caught in the floods
Mandinda Zungu
Children attempt to dry out their school books after they were caught in the floods
One of the homes destroyed in the floods
Mandinda Zungu
Homes have been destroyed by the floods

Malawi launches inquiry into albino killings

Will Ross

Africa editor, BBC World Service

Albino
Getty Images
The body parts of people with albinism are used in rituals to bring wealth

Malawi's President Peter Mutharika has set up a commission of inquiry to investigate attacks against people with albinism.

The commission, headed by a retired supreme court judge, is expected to establish whether there is a trade in body parts and to find out why the justice system has been slow to convict perpetrators.

People with albinism in Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania have been killed because of the mistaken belief that rituals involving parts of their bodies can bring good luck and wealth.

On Wednesday, police in Malawi blocked a protest march by dozens of people with albinism who were trying to present a petition to the president following a spike in attacks.

Malawi police block albino march

Mary Harper

Africa editor, BBC World Service

Police in Malawi have blocked a protest march by people with albinism who were trying to make their way to state house.

A journalist at the scene said there were scuffles as the protesters attempted to break through the police cordon.

They wanted to present a petition to President Peter Mutharika following a spike in the killing and maiming of albinos.

The president met a delegation, and promised to issue them with safety alarms. People with albinism are frequently killed in Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania.

Their body parts are used to make charms which are believed to bring luck, money and love.