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Aspects of Malawi 1: Decoding the flag

To provide an introduction to the country of Malawi, decoding its flag in order to stimulate interest in a more detailed series on the country.

by Helen Redfern

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To provide an introduction to the country of Malawi, decoding its flag in order to stimulate interest in a more detailed series on the country.

Preparation and materials

  • An image of the Malawi flag on screen (or a large copy to be displayed).

  • Photographs are available to download to accompany this assembly.

Assembly

  1. I wonder how many of you know anything about the country of Malawi. What continent is Malawi part of? (Africa). Who adopted a baby from Malawi in 2006? (Madonna).

    That’s probably as much as you know at the moment. But this is the first of six assemblies in which we will find out what it is like to be at home, at school, at work, at play and in the wild in Malawi.
  2. In this assembly, we will use the flag to teach us about life in Malawi. (Show the image of the flag.) Each of the colours and the symbol on the flag represent something to the people of Malawi.
  3. Black. What is the first colour? What do you think it might represent?

    Black represents the people of Malawi.
    Colours of the flag - black

    Colours of the flag - black

    Show full sized image >>

     

    Malawi’s population density is one of the highest in Africa. That means that many people live in a small country.

    Malawi is one of a few African countries that does not touch the sea. That means that the people in Malawi depend on the neighbouring countries to allow them to bring through their land supplies that arrive by sea.

    Malawi is known as the warm heart of Africa because the people are positive, friendly and caring.
  4. Red. What is the second colour? What do you think it might represent?

    Red is the colour of suffering.
    Colours of the flag - red

    Colours of the flag - red

    Show full sized image >>

     

    Suffering has played its part in the history of Malawi. In the eighteenth century, rich traders came from the East to raid villages and capture slaves. These slaves endured a two-day journey across Lake Malawi in cramped, suffocating conditions in overcrowded boats. They then had to march to the coast carrying heavy loads and if they became too weak to continue, they were murdered.

    Now the slave trade is over but for most people in Malawi, suffering is part of everyday life. Many people suffer from terrible poverty and disease. Most people do not survive beyond the age of 40.
  5. Green. What is the third colour? What do you think it might represent?

    Green represents the land and all that grows on it.
    Colours of the flag - green

    Colours of the flag - green

    Show full sized image >>

     

    The land is fertile and the vegetation is lush. With regular rainy and dry seasons, it is possible to grow sugar cane, cotton, fruit and vegetables. 80 per cent of the people of Malawi are involved in agriculture, growing food for themselves and to take to market to sell.
  6. The Rising Sun. What is the symbol on the flag? What do you think it might represent?

    The rising sun was added to the flag when the country gained independence in 1964. It represents the hope of the people, the desire to make Malawi a better place for all who live there, and the belief that a new day is dawning for the beautiful country of Malawi.

Time for reflection

Let us reflect on Malawi as we end our time together.

It is amazing that people who have so little can seem so content.

It is incredible that people who live with such suffering can have such hope in their hearts.

We are so fortunate.

We have so much and yet we often want more.

As we consider the country of Malawi, let us open our minds to learn from how the people live and work and play.

Let us open our hearts to appreciate all that we have.

Let us open our imaginations to help the hopes of the people of Malawi become realities.

Song/music

‘The family of man’ (Come and Praise, 69)

Publication date: September 2009   (Vol.11 No.9)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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