The ‘malipenga’ dance in Nkhata Bay District

The ‘malipenga’ dance owes its origins to the system of military parades and bands introduced to Nyasaland (present-day Malawi) in colonial times by the British officers of the Kings’ African Rifles (KAR). When World War I veterans returned home to the Nkhata Bay District they organized their own ‘governments’, called ‘bomas’, in the form of a ‘malipenga’ dance movement. ‘Malipenga’ in Chitumbuka, Chitonga and Chinyanja means ‘trumpets’, properly the bugles of the KAR. Hence the derivation of ‘malipenga’ dances, because soldiers of a particular ‘government’ blow in unison many ‘bugles’ at the same time. ‘Malipenga’ is very much a social reality and activity, though there has been a slight decline in its performance since the Kamuzu political regime ended. [ASC Leiden abstract]

Title: The ‘malipenga’ dance in Nkhata Bay District
Author: Mpata, Daniel
Year: 2001
Periodical: The Society of Malawi Journal
Volume: 54
Issue: 1
Pages: 23-28
Language: English
Geographic terms: Malawi
Central Africa
External link: https://www.jstor.org/stable/29779058
Abstract: The ‘malipenga’ dance owes its origins to the system of military parades and bands introduced to Nyasaland (present-day Malawi) in colonial times by the British officers of the Kings’ African Rifles (KAR). When World War I veterans returned home to the Nkhata Bay District they organized their own ‘governments’, called ‘bomas’, in the form of a ‘malipenga’ dance movement. ‘Malipenga’ in Chitumbuka, Chitonga and Chinyanja means ‘trumpets’, properly the bugles of the KAR. Hence the derivation of ‘malipenga’ dances, because soldiers of a particular ‘government’ blow in unison many ‘bugles’ at the same time. ‘Malipenga’ is very much a social reality and activity, though there has been a slight decline in its performance since the Kamuzu political regime ended. [ASC Leiden abstract]