Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Martyr's day

The third of March is Martyr's Day in Malawi. It is etched in my brain. We were terrified of it. It is a day to commemorate the lives of 40 people who were killed during an uprising against the Federation in 1959. All we knew as schoolkids under the Banda regime in Malawi was that we weren't allowed to do ANYTHING on that day. School closed. They certainly didn't want the responsibility of keeping 300 boarders locked up in their dorms for the day. They sent us all off on half term.

My parents would usually drive up from Zambia to take us out of school and we would go to the lake. Which was great. Except we weren't allowed to do anything. On Martyr's day you had to stay indoors and mourn. No going outside. No listening to the radio. Nothing. They had spies walking the beach. I swear. The dining room at our house on the lake was separate from our bedroom - like about 50metres away and we had to dash outside to go and eat. I was always terrified of getting caught being outside.. And NO laughing! I am a laugher. And a loud one. It was torture! One guy was caught washing his car and got sent to prison for a year. Imagine, getting released one year later, on Martyr's day again and dancing a little jig outside the prison for being let out. Excuse me sir, you showed joy, back inside for another year you go. Hahaha

The Banda regime in Malawi. Ah, another post, another time

12 comments:

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

This must be history week! All week I'm posting about the Texas Revolution. I need to put some humor in a dire event as you have done... Oh well, I wasn't around for the TX Rev. Good post.

Angela said...

And I thought Banda was one of the GOOD African leaders!
So who allowed you to use the internet today? Huh?

Lori ann said...

I guess in trying to show respect they got a little carried away. I bet those 40 people would rather be remembered by loud laughter,joy and a little dancing. I love
history,this is so interesting to know!

so did you do what your sister said and sit with janelli under a tree, eating nutella? :)
xxx lori

Ziongirl said...

So much to learn from each..
Never knew of this...

family affairs said...

Hurry up - I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on the Banda regime -I was living in Malawi during that time, but left when I was very young so have no sense of that time - my post was on Dr Seuss's birthday!! History week indeed Lx

spacedlaw said...

That sounds rather drastic and hard on children. You might have been better off kept at school and taught (oevr and over) about the martyrs. Then you would not have ran the risk of laughing.

Reya Mellicker said...

Wow. What a "holiday."

What do you think, Miranda - is suffering redemptive? I've never understood.

Janelle said...

oh remembering...martyr's day and whisky in tea pots... banda and malawi...yes. post about it! a good one! xxx j

tam said...

and the fact that our school was on the way to the airport so everytime he went anywhere we had to walk to the road and stand and clap for him. Which was great coz it was usually during double history on a friday afternoon. Nice one. More!

karen said...

wow, interesting, thanks! Learning something new again.. can imagine that must have been torture for kids! I remember visiting Malawi as a child, and the dress code was so strict, my mum had to wear a long skirt etc! (sometime in the 70s). Looking forward to your Banda regime post...

Shiny said...

If we were being 'martyr-ish' as children, my granny always used to say: "Don't be a tomartyr", leaving us in fits of giggles. We would've been in trouble if we'd been there then! x

Val said...

that malawi stuff was crazy hey? yes post more on this - no-one will believe it!! haha
oh and if you dont like the letter D choose another - anyone....
hope you feeling fine and happy
xx

my word veri is 'harypard' - thats so funny...