Born 1905. Statesman of the Republic of Malawi.
Banda was born into a peasant family in Nyasaland (at that time a British possession). From 1918 to 1926 he lived in Johannesburg (Union of South Africa); from 1926 to 1938 he lived in the USA (where, in 1931, upon graduating from the University of Chicago, he received a B. A. with a major in philosophy). Between 1938 and 1953, Banda lived in England (where he received a physician’s diploma in 1941); from 1954 to 1958 he lived in Ghana.
In 1958, Banda returned to Nyasaland and was elected chairman of the African National Congress. In 1959 he was arrested by British colonial authorities. In 1960 he was released and became head of the newly created Malawi Congress Party. From 1961 to 1963 he was minister of national resources, local government, and urban development. Between February 1963 and July 1964, Banda was prime minister of Nyasaland. From July 1964 to July 1966 he was prime minister of Malawi. Since 1966, Banda has been president of the Republic of Malawi; at the same time, he has been minister of foreign affairs, justice, public works, and supplies. The Charter of the Malawi Congress Party (ratified in 1965) proclaimed Banda party chairman for life. In foreign policy Banda is oriented primarily toward the Western countries. In 1967, Banda’s government recognized the Republic of South Africa; this provoked sharp criticism from the majority of African states.