10. British Nyasaland (1907-1964)

 

Pre-Crisis Phase (July 6, 1907-January 22, 1915):  The British Central Africa Protectorate was renamed the Protectorate of Nyasaland on July 6, 1907.  Francis Barrow Pearce, who was appointed to serve as Acting Commissioner in Nyasaland beginning on April 1, 1907, appointed members to an Executive Council and a Legislative Council.  The Legislative Council convened on September 4, 1907.  William Henry Manning was appointed Acting Governor of the Protectorate of Nyasaland on October 1, 1907.  Alfred Sharpe, who had previously been appointed to the Legislative Council on September 6, 1907, was appointed as Governor of Nyasaland on May 1, 1908.  Francis Barrow Pearce, who had previously been appointed to the Legislative Council on April 3, 1908, was appointed as Acting Governor of Nyasaland on April 1, 1910.  Henry Richard Wallis, who had previously been appointed to the Legislative Council on August 26, 1908, was appointed as Acting Governor of Nyasaland on July 4, 1910.  William Henry Manning served as Acting Governor of Nyasaland from February 6, 1911 to September 23, 1913.  The North Nyasa Native Association (NNNA) was established by Levi Zililo Mumba to promote the welfare of Africans in northern Nyasaland in 1912.  George Smith served as Governor of Nyasaland from September 23, 1913 to April 12, 1923.

Crisis Phase (January 23, 1915-March 31, 1915):  John Chilembwe, a Baptist minister, launched an insurgency against white settlers in Nyasaland beginning on January 23, 1915.  The same evening, insurgents led by Stephen Kadewere attacked targets in Zomba District.  Insurgents led by David Kaduya and Stephen Mkulichi attacked targets in Limba District, and some 200 insurgents led by Filipo Chinyama attacked an armory in Ncheu District.  William Jervis Livingstone, a plantation manager, was killed by insurgents led by Wilson Zimba  near Magomero on the evening of January 23, 1915.  Three other individuals, including Duncan MacCormick and Robert Ferguson, were also killed in the Magomero area the same evening.  A force of 50 British volunteers and 100 Africans commanded by Captain L. E. Triscott was organized to suppress the insurgency beginning on January 24, 1915.  John Chilembwe, along with his nephew Morris Chilembwe, were killed by colonial police forces near Mulanje on February 3, 1915.  Some 40 insurgents, including Filipo Chinyama and Stephen Mkulichi, were executed and 300 insurgents were imprisoned by March 31, 1915.

Post-Crisis Phase (April 1, 1915-August 17, 1953):  Richard Sims Donkin Rankine served as Governor of Nyasaland from April 12, 1923 to March 27, 1924.  In 1923, the Southern Province Native Association (SPNA) was established in Zomba.  Charles Calvert Bowring served as Governor of Nyasland from March 27, 1924 to May 30, 1929.  In 1927, James R. N. Chinyama and George Simon Mwase established the Central Province Native Association (CPNA).  In 1928, the Legislative Council approved the Natives on Private Estates Ordinance, which regulated the conditions of African tenants who farmed on European-owned estates.  Wilfred Bennett Davidson-Houston served as Acting Governor of Nyasaland from May 30, 1929 to November 7, 1929.  Shenton Thomas served as Governor of Nyasaland from November 7, 1929 to November 22, 1932.  Hubert Winthrop Young served as Governor of Nyasaland from November 22, 1932 to April 9, 1934.  Levi Mumba was appointed to the governor’s Advisory Committee on Education in 1933.  Kenneth Lambert Hall served as Acting Governor of Nyasaland from April 9, 1934 to September 21, 1934.  Harold Baxter Kittermaster served as Governor of Nyasaland from September 21, 1934 to March 20, 1939.  On May 12, 1935, Levi Mumba met with Governor Kittermaster regarding communication between the native associations and the colonial government.  In 1937, the native associations in Nyasaland proposed that educated Africans be appointed to half of the seats on the Legislative Council, but this proposal was rejected.  Donald Mackenzie-Kennedy served as Governor of Nyasaland from March 20, 1939 to August 8, 1942.  Edmund Charles Smith Richards served as Governor of Nyasaland from August 8, 1942 to March 27, 1947.  African farmers rioted on European-owned estates in Blantyre District in 1943 and Cholo District in 1945.  The Nyasaland African Council (NAC) was established by Nyasaland nationalists in Blantyre in 1943.  Levi Mumba was elected as President and Charles Jameson Mantiga was elected Vice-President of the Nyasaland National Council (NAC), which was renamed the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC), in October 1944.  Levi Mumba died in January 1945, and Charles Matinga succeeded him as President of the NAC.  Governor Edmund Richards appointed the Land Commission consisting of Sir Sidney Abrahams, who conducted an investigation of land issues in Nyasaland from July 25 to October 4, 1946.   The Abrahams Commission submitted a report to Governor Edmund Richards on October 31, 1946, and the Abrahams Commission report was published by the British colonial government on February 15, 1947.  Geoffrey Francis Taylor Colby served as Governor of Nyasaland from March 30, 1947 to April 10, 1956.  At a meeting of the NAC beginning on January 1, 1950, Charles Matinga was dismissed as President for abuse of funds.  James R. N. Chinyama was elected as President and James Frederick Sangala was elected as Vice-President of the NAC at a meeting held in Mzimba in August 1950.

Crisis Phase (August 18, 1953-June 16, 1960):  Eleven individuals were killed and 72 individuals were injured during riots in Chikwawa, Cholo, Port Herald, and Zomba districts from August 18 to September 14, 1953.  James F. Sangala, Vice-President of the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC) was arrested by colonial police in September 1953, but he was released in October 1953.  British South Rhodesia formally joined British North Rhodesia (Zambia) and British Nyasaland (Malawi) to form the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland on October 23, 1953.  Elections were held in the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasland on December 15, 1953, and the Federal Party (FP) won 24 out of 35 seats in the Federal Assembly.  James R. N. Chinyama resigned as President of the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC) in January 1954, and James F. Sangala was elected as President of the NAC.  Thamar D. T. Banda was elected as Secretary-General of the NAC on March 30, 1956.  Robert Perceval Armitage served as Governor of Nyasaland from April 10, 1956 to April 10, 1961.  James F. Sangala and Thamar D. T. Banda were put on trial for sedition in May 1956.  James F. Sangala resigned as President of the NAC in January 1957, and Thamar D. T. Banda was elected as President of the NAC.  In February 1958, Sir Henry Wilcox Wilson was appointed by Governor Armitage to preside over the 23-member Legislative Council (18 Europeans and five Africans) in place of the Governor.  After being away from Nyasaland since 1916, Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda returned to Nyasaland on July 6, 1958.  Thamar D. T. Banda was forced to resign as President of the NAC due to charges of misappropriating funds.  Dr. Banda was elected president of the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC), and Dunduzu Kaluli Chisiza was elected as Secretary-General of the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC) on August 1, 1958.  Nyasaland nationalists rioted in Zomba on January 20, 1959.  Nyasaland nationalists demonstrated for independence beginning on February 16, 1959.  Governor Robert Armitage requested military reinforcements from the British government on February 20, 1959.  British government police and Nyasaland nationalists clashed in Fort Hill and Karonga on February 21, 1959.  British government police and Nyasaland nationalists clashed in Blantyre and Limbe on February 22, 1959, resulting in the deaths of one individual.  British government troops and Nyasaland nationalists clashed throughout Nyasaland on March 2-3, 1959, resulting in the deaths of 32 individuals.  Governor Robert Armitage declared a state-of-emergency on March 3, 1959.  Government police arrested Dr. Hastings Banda, Dunduzu Kaluli Chisiza, and other Nyasaland nationalists in Operation Sunrise on March 3, 1959.  The government banned the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC) on March 4, 1959.  British government police and Nyasaland nationalists clashed near Machinga on March 5, 1959, resulting in the deaths of five individuals.  British government police and Nyasaland nationalists clashed in Mponela on March 6, 1959, resulting in the death of one individual.  British government police and Nyasaland nationalists clashed in Mlanje on March 7, 1959, resulting in the deaths of two individuals.  British government police and Nyasaland nationalists clashed near Santhe on March 10, 1959, resulting in the death of one individual.  British government police and Nyasaland nationalists clashed in the Minsuka Hills area on March 15, 1959, resulting in the death of one individual.  On March 24, 1959, the British government established a four-member commission of inquiry headed by Sir Patrick Devlin to investigate the disturbances in Nyasaland.  The Devlin Commission arrived in Nyasaland on April 11, 1959.  The Devlin Commission, which issued a report to the British government on July 16, 1959, found majority African opposition to the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.  Several former members of the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC), including Orton Chirwa and Aleke Banda, established the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) on September 30, 1959.  Dr. Hastings Banda was released from prison in Southern Rhodesia on April 1, 1960, and he was chosen as president of the MCP on April 5, 1960.  The British government lifted the state-of-emergency on June 16, 1960.  Some 51 individuals were killed during the state-of-emergency from March 3, 1959 to June 16, 1960.

Post-Crisis Phase (June 17, 1960-July 6, 1964): The British government granted Nyasaland greater autonomy within the federation in August 1960.  Glyn Smallwood Jones served as Governor of Nyasaland from April 10, 1961 to July 6, 1964.  Elections were held in Nyasaland on August 15, 1961, and the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) won 22 out of 28 seats in the Legislative Council.  The United Federal Party (UFP) won five seats in the Legislative Council.  Dr. Hasting Banda was appointed as Minister of Natural Resources and Local Government in a cabinet head by Governor Glyn Jones in January 1962.  Nyasaland was given the right to secede from the federation on December 19, 1962.  A new constitution for Nyasaland (Malawi) went into effect on February 1, 1963, and Hastings Banda was sworn in as prime minister of Nyasaland.  The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was dissolved on January 1, 1964.  Elections were held in Nyasaland on April 28, 1964, and the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) won 50 out of 53 seats in the Legislative Council.  Malawi formally achieved its independence from Britain on July 6, 1964.

[Sources: Butterworth, 1976, 256-257; Facts on File, February 19-25, 1959, February 26-March 4, 1959, March 5-11, 1959, March 12-18, 1959, March 19-25, 1959; Jessup, 1998, 448-449; Keesing’s Record of World Events, April 18-25, 1959, April 23-30, 1960, July 9-16, 1960; Langer, 1972, 1274; Tillema, 1991, 114-115.]

 

Selected Bibliography

Kalinga, Owen J. M. 1996. “Resistance, Politics of Protest, and Mass Nationalism in Colonial Malawi, 1950-1960.” Cahiers d’ Etudes Africaines, vol. 143, pp. 443-454.

McCracken, John. 1986. “Coercion and Control in Nyasaland: Aspects of the History of a Colonial Police Force,” Journal of African History, vol. 27 (1), pp. 127-147.