A Democracy of Chameleons: Politics and Culture in the New Malawi

By Harri Englund | Go to book overview

Acknowledgements

The origin of this book can be traced to the International Conference on Historical and Social Science Research in Malawi: Problems and Prospects, held at Chancellor College in Zomba, Malawi, 26–29 June, 2000. Earlier versions of the chapters were presented at this conference, along with some 40 other papers on various aspects of Malawi's history, politics, economy, and culture. Major credit for this stimulating event is due to The Nordic Africa Institute which both provided the bulk of its funding and now publishes this volume. Journal of Southern African Studies, a co-organiser of the conference, has published a complementary selection of historical and social studies of Malawi in its first issue of Volume 28 (2002).

It is my conviction that the conference and the subsequent publications bear witness to the remarkable quickening of historical and social science scholarship in and on Malawi since the demise of Kamuzu Banda's stifling regime in 1994. Numerous are the Malawians who deserve praise for this auspicious political change. The studies in this volume are offered to nurture that fragile achievement through a responsible and balanced appraisal.

Among my personal debts incurred during the process from organising the conference to publishing this volume, two scholars stand out. Kings M. Phiri and John McCracken provided advice and made a considerable effort to ensure the success of the conference in 2000. An important contribution was also made by the Steering Committee at Chancellor College, comprising, in addition to Professor Phiri as its Chair, Blessings Chinsinga, Charles Chunga, Paul Kishindo, Anthony Nazombe, Naomi Ngwira, Martin Ott and Eston Sambo. I also wish to acknowledge the superb secretarial assistance rendered by the Centre for Social Research in Zomba. As for The Nordic Africa Institute, Nina Klinge-Nygård and C. Bawa Yamba went out of their way to provide moral and practical support when it was most needed. To all mentioned here and to the expanding fellowship of scholars working in and on Malawi, I say: Mutu umodzi susenza denga.

Lilongwe, April 2002 Harri Englund

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