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The National Archives of Malawi is government Department in the Ministry of Sports and Culture. It was established in 1947 in Zomba as a regional branch of the then Central African Archives and later known as the National Archives of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. After the dissolution of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, the Zomba branch was in 1964 declared the National Archives of Malawi.



The mission statement of the National Archives of Malawi is: to collect, organize, control, preserve and make available to the Malawi Nation, and other interested persons, with information which reflect the country’s historical, political, judiciary, religious, economic, social and cultural heritage, irrespective of the media.



The National Archives of Malawi carries out its functions under two statutory obligations, viz: the National Archives Act and the Printed Publications Act. Basically the administration of its functions is being done in different sections which are all under the umbrella of the National Archives of Malawi. These sections are:

  2. This section is responsible for the day-to-day administrative issues concerning the Department.

  4. Currently there are three Records Centres i.e. one in Zomba, Lilongwe and Mzuzu. The Records Centres are responsible for the regular and controlled transfer, retirement and disposal of obsolete records. It is also responsible for control over records creation by ensuring that records are not created haphazadly and systematic registry and filing practices.

  6. This section is an extension of the Records Centres which is responsible for the permanent preservation of records of enduring value.

  8. The section complements the official written sources on the history of Malawi. It is responsible for the acquisition of historical information from Private Institutions such as corporate bodies, churches, clubs, etc and also individuals such as missionaries, colonial administrators, politicians, etc.

  10. The Library section is responsible for the enforcement of the Printed Publications Act whereby every publisher in the country is obliged to deposit a copy of their publications to the Archives. It is also responsible for the development of a comprehensive collection of literature relating to Malawi and her neighbouring countries, and also promote the use of the collection. The Library section also administers the issuing of ISBNs to publishers in Malawi.

  12. This section is responsible for book/newspaper binding, microfilming and photo-processing. Meanwhile the section is not fully operational because the equipment has not yet been installed but already acquired.



Much as one would imagine, the National Archives of Malawi provides a wide range of service. Some of the Service include:

  1. The operation of a nation-wide records Management system whereby government records are collected, organised and stores in low-cost accommodation.
  2. Provide advisory services to government departments and other organisations on the proper records Management practices.
  3. Provide for authorised access to public archives and historical manuscripts to researchers and scholars.
  4. Provide for reference service and bibliographic research.
  5. Administer the issuing of ISBNs to publishers in Malawi and also provide advisory service to publishers in the country concerning the use of ISBNs on their Publications.
  6. Operate a Conservation Centre with a view of enhancing the life span of documents through binding, microfilming, etc.



Everyone is allowed access to the services in the National Archives but under agreed conditions. For example, those who would like to have access to archives will be required to submit a formal application to the Director of National Archives together with a copy of their curriculum vitae and at least two letters of reference from their referees. Having done that the Director seeks for approval from the Ministry headquarters and when the application has been approved, the researcher will be required to pay research fees as revised from time to time. Besides the formal application the researcher is required to complete a prescribed form for admission to the search room. Currently the research fees are in three categories and are as follows:-

(a) Local Malawi Students K300.00

(b) Local Malawi Passport holders K600.00

(c) Foreign Passport holders US$500.00

There are also researchers who only look for information from published sources like books, newspapers, etc. This kind of information is available in the Library Section currently there is no charge for these services and that researchers may have access without any formal application. Similarly researchers who would like to have access to semi-current records deposited in the National Archives by government departments or private organisations, will be required to bring with them a letter of consent from the depositing agency.



The National Archives of Malawi is committed to improving its services in various ways. Looking ahead, we are destined to carry out a number of projects which include:-

  1. Computerisation of our archival system.
  2. Digitising our film collection.
  3. Publishing the Malawi National Bibliography on the Internet.
  4. Conduct public awareness campaigns on the role of the National Archives of Malawi in National Development.
  5. Construct a purpose-built archival structure for the proper management and administration of records and archives. Funds are still being sought for this project and it is estimated to cost over K35, 000,000.00 (Thirty Five Million-Malawi Kwacha).
  6. Intensify records and literature surveys with a view to consolidating the mandate of the N
  7. National Archives of Malawi.



Since independence the National Archives of Malawi has grown as the best institutions in the country where one is assured of finding any information on Malawi. While this is true, the National Archives of Malawi appreciates the role of the University of Malawi Libraries and the National Library Service in providing support to the National Archives by providing the necessary information to researchers when such information is not readily available at the National Archives. As such these two institutions are part of the useful links to the National Archives of Malawi, and we pledge to continue working with them.



One of the challenges facing the Department is lack of professionally trained and experienced staff. Despite this problem, the Department is doing everything possible to train its staff and have some of the existing vacancies filled as soon as possible. Meanwhile he staff compliment for core staff is as follows:

O.W. Ambali Acting Director/Senior Librarian

J.S. Thaulo Records Management Officer

E.Y.Z. Kamanga Archivist-Historical Manuscript

H.G. Kaposa Archivist – Public Archives

P. Lihoma Records Management Officer

S.S. Gondwe Assistant Librarian

E.B. Kadongola Assistant Archivist

A.J. Chilanga Assistant Archivist

O.K. Msiska Senior Photo Processor

S.K. Kasusu Senior Clerical Officer

F.L.M. Kasanga Senior Clerical Officer

M.J. Kalimbuka Archives Assistant

C.T.S. Mwantobe Archives Assistant

I.E. Mtakulamusi Library Assistant

T.S.M. Billiati Photo Processor

C.B.T. Chagwayapa Book Binder


Copyright 2001, The National Archives of Malawi