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Republic of Malawi

Last modified: 2010-03-12 by bruce berry
Keywords: malawi | sun |
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[Malawi national flag][Variant] 2:3~ image by Željko Heimer, 27 May 2002

Other Malawian pages

  • Malawi historical flags

            - British Central Africa Protectorate
            - Nyasaland

See also:

Malaŵi flag

According to an article (from Africa News Network) quoted by Jan Oskar Engene, 27 Jan 1999, the current red and green colours of the Malawi flag represents the martyrs of Africa and Africa's green vegetation, respectively, while black means Africa is black. Panafrican News Agency (PANA) mentions (30 December 1998), that the red in the current flag stands for blood Malawians shed during their struggle for independence, the black for black race and the green represents the country's landscape.
Mark Sensen, 4 Jan 1999

The Malawi national flag was adopted at independence on 06 July 1964 and is described and illustrated in the Protected Flag, Emblems and Names Act (1964) - First Schedule Part I:

Description: From the top of the Flag to the bottom thereof, three equal horizontal stripes of black, red and green with a red rising sun superimposed in the centre of the black stripe.

Ratio Length to breadth: Three to two

Significance: Black represents the people of the Continent of Africa.

The Rising Sun represents the dawn of hope and freedom for the whole Continent of Africa.

Red represents the blood of the martyrs of African freedom.

Green represents the ever green nature of Malawi.

Specifications: Red - British Standard Shade Number 0 - 005

Green - British Standard Shade Number 0 - 010

Bruce Berry, 05 Jan 1999

I've been perusing some of the flags for African countries, and it looked to me that the current flag for Malawi really doesn't capture the essence of the sun's rays. According to all of my flag texts, the rays on the flag aren't lines, but more "feathered" - with rounded ends narrowing to a point.
Peter Krembs, 04 Feb 2001

National Flag. CSW/C-- 2:3
Black-red-green tricolor with red rising sun in the middle of the black stripe. The rays that I drew previously were not quite the same as in Album 2000 so I have improved them. I am not sure if there is an official specification for the sun emblem. [vdv00] uses specifications from the Flag Research Center which is slightly different.
Željko Heimer, 27 May 2002

Malaŵi Coat of Arms

[Malawi Coat of Arms] image provided by Jarig Bakker, 01 Jun 2002

The Malawi Coat of Arms were adopted at independence and are described and illustrated in the Protected Flag, Emblems and Names Act (1964) - First Schedule Part II:


For Arms, per fess barry wavy Azure and Argent and Sable on a fess Gules a lion passant and in base a sun rising Or: and for the Crest: On a wreath Or and Gules on water barry wavy Azure and Argent in front of a sun rising Or a fish eagle rising proper, and for Supporters: On the dexter side a lion and on the sinister side a leopard both guardant, upon a compartment representing the Mlanje mountain proper, together with the motto: Unity and Freedom.

Bruce Berry, 05 Jan 1999

The national crest has the rising sun at the top and bottom, representing the dawn of freedom in Africa. The fish eagle and wavy bands on the shield symbolise Lake Malawi while the lion and the leopard guard the crest as a whole. The land at the base is the rugged Mlanje mountain. The crest bears the motto 'Unity and Freedom'.
Jarig Bakker, 01 Jun 2002

Proposed Flag Changes?


See below on the proposed changes to the flag of Malawi as reported in the Nyasa Times of 11 February 2010.
Have your say: The proposed new Malawi national flag

image sent by Bruce Berry, 12 Feb 2010

Malawi government has released a proposed new national flag (pictured) to replace the current features.

Government spokesman, Reckford Thotho said authorities proposed to change the national flag replacing the rising sun with a full sun and change some colours "symbolising the development that has taken place."

Said the Information Minister: "The essence of changing the national flag is that times have changed since 1964 when Malawi adopted the flag on attaining its independence.  "The symbol of the rising sun that time made a lot of sense because it was dawn for freedom and hope. But there has been a lot of development that has taken place since and we cannot still be at dawn."

However, a Blantyre based lawyer, who is also executive director of Justice Link Justin Dzonzi, has appealed to government of Bingu wa Mutharika to "simply resists the temptation" to change the features of the national flag.  "I think it's a national issue and basically as a national issue it must have a national support for the change. The changes must be that the nation needs the change," said Dzonzi.

"It's not just a matter of preference for one individual. I don't think the colours of our national flag have been subject of debate," he pointed out. The legal expert said any changes of features on the national flag should be based on solid and acceptable reasons.

"The rationale behind any change must be such change that is significant to Malawi," he said.
Bruce Berry, 12 Feb 2010


The proposal seems to be to replace a unique, attractive, and extremely distinctive flag (the current one) with one which looks more like other flags, and in doing so clutter up the design with a fourth colour.  I note that very few of those leaving their comments on the web page seem to support the proposal.
James Dignan, 12 Feb 2010


According to the Panafrican News Agency (PANA) (30 Dec 1998) the Malawi government has plans for a change of national the flag. These were, however, put on hold in late January 1999, according to the Africa News Network. The flag change was planned because the current flag is derived from the former flag of the main opposition (and former ruling) party, the Malawi Congress Party, except for the rising sun. The article further mentions that MCP "three years ago" changed its flag to one which is all-green with a black cock in the middle of a white circle.
Mark Sensen, 04 Jan 1999