University of Malawi Chancellor College (Malawi)


Our project aims at examining the colonial government’s response to pandemics in Nyasaland, now known as Malawi, especially the Spanish influenza of 1918–1919. The project focuses on lessons that can be drawn from past epidemics in responding to Covid-19. The following questions will be addressed: What practices were used to contain past pandemics? How successful were they? What role did the media play in reporting the pandemics? To what extent were the reports objective? What was the relationship between colonial administrators, health practitioners, and local inhabitants? What was the impact of the pandemics on society and the economy? The project is qualitative in design, and we will consult archival documents and conduct interviews with major stakeholders in the present pandemic. In terms of data analysis, we will use the discourse analysis approach, especially its focus on power and language. We expect that the results will inform the formulation of workable responses to the coronavirus disease for the people and the economy of Malawi.

Principal Investigators

Timwa Lipenga

Lecturer, History and French, University of Malawi Chancellor College

Timwa Lipenga is a lecturer in the Department of French at Chancellor College, University of Malawi. She has a PhD in French from the University of Aberdeen. Her research focus is interdisciplinary in nature, and includes formulations of narrative in postcolonial Africa. She has also carried out research in comparative literature, translation, and the role of language in music, journalism, and film. She is author of Lomathinda: Rose Chibambo Speaks (Logos: 2019) and her articles have been published in the Journal of Humanities, Mzuni Press and Africa World Press. She is currently researching depictions of pan-Africanism in Francophone music in Africa

Hendrina Kachapila

Senior Lecturer, University of Malawi, Chancellor College

Hendrina Kachapila Mazizwa is senior lecturer in history at the University of Malawi. Her research focuses on gender and identity among the Chewa of Central Malawi. She earned her MA and PhD in African history from Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada. Her work has been published in journals such as the International Journal of African Historical Studies and Religion in Africa.