Chichewa love poem
Nkhope yako pa kalilole
Ndiye ndakatulo yokometsetsa kwa ine
Koma fulumila imasowa
Ndiye "ndimakukonda" wanga omaliza
→ French poem ←
My love poem (ndakatulo yachikondi), in its chichewa tanslation (other names : Nyanja, Chichewa, Cewa, Cheva, Chewa, Sheva, Nyanja-Chewa, Chingoni, Chinyanja, Chipeta, Cicewa, Cimanganja, Cingoni, Cinyanja, Marave, Maravi, Ngoni, Angoni, Nyasa, Peta, Waganga, Cipeta, Kunda, Malawi, Manganja), from Malawi of which it is one of the official languages. This Bantu language is also spoken in Zambia (official language), and also in Mozambique by more than 10 million people.
The Nyanja takes its name from the lake spread between Malawi, Tanzania and Mozambique, it means "expanse of water". There are many dialectal variants in Chiyanja, Malawi's Chichewa is one of them.
The president of Malawi (Banda) of Chewa ancestry claimed, that the Chichewa was the language, and the Nyanja a dialect, and that the mistake had been made by the Portuguese. I think that if languages and dialects have as difference only the political will, we have here a good example to try to make a speech of a region, a language.
The arguments of Banda, whose background was surely political, were that the first Bantu to settle in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe were the Maravi in the 16th century, and that it is them, with Kalonga as leader, who founded the Malawi empire (Maravi deformation).
They will later extend their influence in Zambia and Mozambique by broadcasting their language. The original focus was therefore in Malawi which would make Chichewa the language and not the dialect. Chinyanja, which was the main language in the media in Malawi, a language taught in primary and secondary schools, in 1968, under the presidency of Banda, was renamed Chichewa, and elevated to the rank of official language.
Malawi's language policy with the media and academics has helped to promote Chichewa. A council has been created to supervise the language, to define the orthographic and lexical conventions. So much so, that the efforts made, allowed a real literacy of the country.
The Chewas (Cewas) are a population of the Central Bantu family, belonging to the group of companies known as Maravi.
Most of the Cewas were farmers, and were organized in matrilignages with generally uxorilocale residence, and practiced the preferential marriage with the patrilateral cross cousin.
Hereditary chiefs with authority over several villages carried out functions, both military and religious (rain mastery). The Chewas are not the only ones to speak nyanja, since it is found on three countries.