Sociolinguistic research and academic freedom in Malawi: past and current trends
Kamwendo, G. H.
PublisherSouthern African Comparative and History of Education Society (SACHES). http://www.journals.co.za/ej/ejour_sare.html
Rights holderSouthern African Comparative and History of Education Society (SACHES)
MetadataShow full item record
During the first 30 years of Malawi’s independence (1964-1994), the country was under President Hastings Kamuzu Banda’s one-party authoritarian rule. In line with Banda’s nation-building ideology, Malawi pursued the policy of one nation, one party (the Malawi Congress Party), one leader (Life President Banda) and one national language (Chichewa). Despite the fact that Malawi is multilingual and multiethnic, the Banda regime created a political atmosphere under which non-Chewa ethnic and/or linguistic identities were suppressed. A political system was established that muzzled academic and other freedoms. Academia, for instance, was deprived of its critical and objective voice. The then only university, the University of Malawi, was carefully monitored to ensure that so-called subversive disciplines or topics were not on offer. Sociolinguistic research was one of the academic disciplines that did not enjoy meaningful academic freedom. The demise of the Banda regime in 1994 and the adoption of a new constitution that embraces various freedoms (including academic freedom) have meant that there are no longer political constraints on academic freedom. However, new forms of constraint on academic freedom have arisen. These are economic constraints, many emanating from the research-funding agencies’ agendas.