It was Captain F.D. LUGARD Of the Norfolk Regiment who enlisted ATONGA recruits to stop the Arab Slave traders shipping slaves from NYASALAND to the Coast. in 1896 this force was given the title "The British Central African Rifles." A second battalion was formed in 1899.
In 1902 "The King's African Rifles" came into being and these two battalions took on their new title. On 6th October 1902 Lieutenant Colonel COBBE was awarded the Victoria Cross during the Battle of EREGON against the MAD MULLAH. He had continued to work a Maxim Machine Gun though he was well out in front of the line, when he ran out under heavy enemy fire to rescue a wounded orderly. It is after this courageous man that the home of The Malawi Rifles, Cobbe Barracks in ZOMBA, is named.
During the 1st World War the Battalions were in action in KARONGA. JASIN in TANGANYIKA and NYANGAO in EAST AFRICA. During this last battle the ground changed hands four times. it was said of the KAR in the EAST AFRICAN Campaign "Neither before nor since has the KAR been faced with a Campaign at once so prolonged, arduous or stubborn as that of the 1st World War."
in September 1925 His Majesty KING GEORGE V graciously accepted the appointment of Colonel-In-Chief of the King's African Rifles and the Regiment is similarly honoured today by Her Majesty QUEEN ELIZABETH II.
In May 1940 the Battalion moved to WAJIR with B Company on the Italian front at MOYALE. Then came the advance on MOGADISHU and ADDIS ABABA as part of 12 (EA) Division and later the Battalion moved to MADAGASCAR and BURMA. After mopping up operations against the Japanese on AKYAB and RAMREE Island it finally concentrated at ZOMBA NYASALAND after 13 years.
The Battalion served in MALAYA from January 1951 to 1953 and in LUSAKA (ZAMBIA) from February 1958 to 1961. On 6th July 1964, MALAWI became an Independent Member of the Commonwealth and the Battalion changed its title to 1st Battalion The Malawi Rifles (KAR).
On 6th July 1966 Malawi became a Republic and His Excellency The Hon. Dr. H. KAMUZU BANDA became the first President of the new Republic. After the swearing in Ceremony his first duty was to present the Battalion with his own Presidential Colour and the new Regimental Colour.
ASKARI MARCHING SONG
It is difficult to determine the origin of many of the KAR marching songs. Whenever Askari are on a route march, they sing. The beauty of their deep natural harmonies is something that can never be 'composed' or transcribed for band. Usually a 'leader' will sing the verse (which will consist of topical comments on whatever may take his fancy, the weather, the country, his comrades, etc.). The chorus is taken up by all in full rich harmony.
No true Askari song appears to be longer than four measures. This is repeated over and over aaain sometimes with slight variation. Of course Western church and folk music was introduced early into Africa and many 'original' African tunes appear to be based on a Western melody. It is from these 'songs' that many KAR marches were taken.
1. FANFARE (FAIR CAMBRIA): (Fitch) Dedicated to H.E. Sir Glyn Jones, Governor General of Malawi from 1960 until 5th July, 1966, on the occasion of his farewell to the 1st Bn. The Malawi Rifles (KAR) on the 1st July, 1966.
2. POYAMBA: ..... (Sutton) Meaning 'First' (1st KAR). A very recent arrangement by Capt. F. Sutton, Bandmaster 1 st KAR until July, 1964. Based on African songs. 3. TAMBALA WALIRA :(Sutton) "The Cock Crows." The crowing cock is the emblem of a Malawi political party. This march is based on party songs.
4. TIRIKUYENDA :(L.P. Simth D.C.M.) "We are marching." 2nd KAR regimental march. The three African songs, which comprise these marches are: TIRIKUYENDA (We will march) AZUNGU NZERU (Europeans are wise) ANTHU CAKACINO (People suffer 1949 Drought)
5. NKHWAZI :(Unknown) "The Fish Eagle." This is the march of the Zambia Police and the title is taken from their cap badge crest.
6. SWEET BANANA: (H. Brimms) This is borrowed from the 1 st Bn RAR. The story is that when the Askari marched to S. Africa they were so taken by the quantity of bananas growing en-route that this song is the result. It is still a great favourite.
7. KUTEMBEA ASKARI: (V.E. Webster) "Walking Marching Soldiers." This is perhaps the most popular Askari song. The words of the chorus are "We are Soldiers." "We are Soldiers" forms a grand climax.
8. THE CRESTED CRANE:(Wood) The crested crane is the cap badge crest of 1st NRR.
9. NGOMA: . (H. McLeven) Traditional dancing. Regimental march of the 6th KAR.
10. MWAMBO (Sutton) "A Custom." Written by Capt. F. Sutton after II being Instructed by his commanding officer"Give me a march with plenty of thump."
This is an edited version of two ceremonies; both of which followed the "Swearing-in" of His Excellency The President of the Republic of Malawi, The Hon. Dr. H. Kamuzu Banda on the 6th July, 1966 at Blantyre.
The two ceremonies are firstly the Trooping of the old 1 KAR Colours before being marched off parade for the last time and immediately afterwards the presentation of the new Presidential and Regimental Colours of the Malawi Rifles by His Excellency The President of the Republic of Malawi, The Hon. Dr. H. Kamuzu Banda.
TROOPING THE COLOUR
After "The Presidential Fanfare" is piayed at the end of the "Swearing in Ceremony" the Battalion marches into the Central Stadium, Blantyre and forms up in front of the Presidential enclosure.
On the command 'Troop' the band and drums move in slow time from right to ieft across the parade ground to the tune "Les Huguenots". They counter march and halt. Then in quick time playing "Action Front" they return to their original position on the right of the parade. One drummer detaches himself from the band to take up a position two paces to the right of the right hand man of No.1 Guard, The Escort. When the band stops playing he sounds the 'Drummers' Call' as the Guard Commander of No.1 hands over to the Captain of the Escort.
On the command 'Escort for the Colour, Quick March' the band leads the Escort to this position piaying "The British Grenadiers."
The Regimental Sergeant Major salutes, receives the old Colours and hands them to the Ensigns. The Captain of the 'Escort' gives the Command 'Escort to the Colours Present Arms.' On the third movement of the 'present' the Malawi National Anthem is played.
Now the Colours are ready to be 'Trooped'. (The ceremony of Trooping the Colour is one of the oldest military ceremonies and originated in the days when each commander flew a standard as a rallying point in battle. It was, therefore most important that every soldier should recognise his own standard. In those days the Standard, later to become known as the "Colours", was lodged at night in quarters and paraded the following day along the ranks so that all might easily recognise it. The music which was played at these parades was called the "Troop" and from this ceremony came to be known as "Trooping the Colour.")
The Parade presents arms and the Colours are marched off parade for the last time to the strains of "Auld Lang Syne"
PRESENTATION OF THE COLOURS
The drums are piled, the new Colours are brought forward and placed on the drums and the service of consecration is read by the Bishop.
After the service the Guards present arms and the new Colours are marched onto parade whilst the Malawi National Anthem is played.
Then the battalion marches past the President in slow time, to the tune 'By Land and Sea' and in quick time to 'Republic Day'.
A final Presidential Salute is given and the battalion marches out of the stadium.