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Hastings Kamuzu Banda
Hastings Kamuzu Banda-Denkmal Lilongwe.jpg
Statue of Banda
1st President of Malawi
In office
6 July 1966 – 24 May 1994
Preceded by Elizabeth II
as Queen of Malawi
Succeeded by Bakili Muluzi
Prime Minister of Malawi
In office
6 July 1964 – 6 July 1966
Governor-General Sir Glyn Smallwood Jones
Preceded by Post created
Succeeded by Himself as President
Personal details
Born c. March or April, 1898
Kasungu, British Central Africa Protectorate
Died 25 November 1997(1997-11-25) (age c. 99)
South Africa
Political party Malawi Congress Party

Hastings Kamuzu Banda (c. 1898 – 25 November 1997) was the Prime Minister and later President of Malawi from 1964–1994 (for the first year of his rule as it achieved independence in 1964, Malawi was the British protectorate of Nyasaland). In 1966, the country became a republic and he became president.

He was formally appointed Prime Minister of Nyasaland, and led the country to independence in 1964. Two years later, he proclaimed Malawi a republic with himself as president.

He consolidated power and later declared Malawi a one-party state under the Malawi Congress Party (MCP). In 1970, the MCP made him the party's President for Life. In 1971, he became President for Life of Malawi itself.


Young Dr Banda
A young Hastings Banda

Banda attended school in the United States. In 1928 he graduated from the school that is now Central State University in Ohio. Next he attended Indiana University as a premedical student. After four semesters he transferred to the University of Chicago. He graduated in 1931. Banda then studied medicine at Meharry Medical College in Tennessee.

Banda was required to get a second medical degree in order to practice medicine in the British Empire. He attended the University of Edinburgh. Between 1941 and 1945, he worked as a doctor in North Shields.


Dr Banda of Malawi and Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya
Dr. Banda with Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya
The National Archives UK - CO 1069-165-9
Banda with President Nyerere

In 1946 he represented the Nyasaland African Congress at the fifth Pan African Congress in Manchester. He began to take more interest in home country.

Banda was against the efforts of Sir Roy Welensky. Welensky wanted to form a federation between Southern and Northern Rhodesia with Nyasaland (Malawi).

In 1951 he moved to the Gold Coast in West Africa. Banda finally returned to Nyasaland on 6 July 1958. In August he was named as the leader of the Congress. He spoke against colonialism and for independence. In 1963, he was formally made Nyasaland’s prime minister. On 6 July 1964, Nyasaland became the independent Commonwealth of Malawi.

Malawi became a one-party state under the Malawi Congress Party (MCP). In 1970, the MCP made him the party’s President for Life. In 1971, he became President for Life of Malawi itself.

A renowned anti-communist leader in Africa, he received support from the Western Bloc during the Cold War. He generally supported women's rights, improved the country's infrastructure and maintained a good educational system relative to other African countries.

However he also presided over one of the most repressive regimes in Africa, an era that saw political opponents regularly tortured and murdered. Human rights groups estimate that at least 6,000 people were killed, tortured and jailed without trial. As many as 18,000 people were killed during his rule, according to one estimate.

He received criticism for maintaining full diplomatic relations with the apartheid government in South Africa.

By 1993, amid increasing domestic and international pressure, he agreed to hold a referendum which ended the one-party system. Soon afterwards, a special assembly ended his life-term presidency and stripped him of most of his powers. Banda ran for president in the democratic elections that followed and he was defeated.


Banda died at the Garden city Clinic in Johannesburg, South Africa on 25 November 1997, aged 99.

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