Technology and Resistance: Digital Communications and New Coalitions around the World

By Ann De Vaney; Stephen Gance et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter Two
Breaking the Silence: Fax Transmissions and the Movement for Democracy in Malawi

Kedmon N. Hungwe

This chapter describes the political changes that occurred in the central African country of Malawi beginning in 1992. At that time Malawi began making the political transition from a single-party dictatorship ruled by the powerful Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda to multiparty democracy. Political change in Malawi was achieved through protest; for example, faxes and underground publications were used to break through repression and the severe censorship of information imposed by the state in thirty years of rule. With time, as the political climate became more favorable, these activities matured into newspaper publishing. This chapter focuses on the use of faxes and underground publications as a form of political resistance in Malawi.

The use of faxes in Malawian politics has been a subject of discussion in other publications ( Lwanda 1995). This chapter draws on earlier published accounts as well as first hand experiences of individuals who participated in faxing. Their accounts broaden our understanding of an important phase in the history of Malawi. Political changes in Malawi, however, did not occur in isolation but were related to other global trends, particularly to changes in Eastern Europe.

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