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‘Malawi’s Lost Years’ book launch Thursday

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The launch of the book titled Malawi’s Lost Years (1964-1994): and Her Forsaken Heroes, will be launched Thurday afternoon at La Caverna in Blantyre.

One of the authors of the book Douglas Miller confirmed the launch in an email saying everything was now set.

“We are two retirees, who have put this project together from our own resources and the goodwill of close friends. Now we have produced a one-of-a-kind history of a key period of Malawi’s history,” said Miller, who has co-authored the book with Kapote Mwakasungura.

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“We would like people to join us as we celebrate the books arrival and honour some of the people whose stories are the essential ingredient of the book,” he said.

Miller said copies of the book will be available for sale at K9,500.

He also said that they have created a website www. malawilostyears.org for promotional purposes.

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Amongst the key correspondents to this book are late Matchipisa Munthali, late Rose Chibambo and Willie Chokani.

Miller said the book seeks to tell the story of several heroes and heroines of the country.

He said it took them time to work on the book starting from recording the voices of the ex-detainees, returned exiles and others who suffered during the one party regime to editing.

“We began this exercise in 2012 and recorded about 45 interviews and we used these voices as the major text,” said Miller.

He said this will be the first of its kind book in the country.

Miller said despite spending more to produce the book, they have tried to keep the final shelf price of the book as low as possible for ordinary Malawians to be able to afford.

Mwakasungura, who has also taken up a drive of preserving culture in Karonga where he is involved in the affairs of running the Karonga Museum but also the establishment of the first of its kind amphitheatre, said recently that there is a gap in the country in terms of having enough books telling Malawi’s history.

“There is a lot which needs to be told for the younger generation to know what was happening, where we have come from and some of the names that fought for this country,” he said.

Mwakasungura said some people have been praised in the country and yet there are brave heroes from the independence struggle who have been ignored in Malawi’s history.

“We feel it important to redress this unfair revision of Malawian history. We are working to tell the story of Malawi’s detainees, exiles and those who suffered in silence under the one party regime. Their stories are largely untold and we want to give them the place on the stage they deserve,” he said.

Mwakasungura said Malawians, in greater numbers than ever, continue to suffer in absolute poverty, while those in leadership are growing rich through corruption and profiteering from the public wealth and their control of the levers of power.

“These are not easy stories to tell and people in power do not want them to be made public. But we thank those who contributed and we hope that people will agree with us that these histories must be openly faced, discussed and acknowledged as lessons for the future,” said the two authors.

They added that sweeping abuse under the carpet does not bring freedom and justice but rather it leaves the house very dirty.

Mwakasungura was a student activist who fled Malawi for exile in Tanzania in October 1964.

He is a brother to Paramount Chief Kyungu.

Miller originally from Ottawa, Canada taught in Malawi from 1968 to 1972 but he later fled into exile because of the level of oppression.

Miller and Mwakasungura have been political and family friends since June 1977.

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