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.
Lecturer, History and French, University of Malawi Chancellor College
Senior Lecturer, University of Malawi, Chancellor College