Fearless Fighter by Vera Chirwa

A powerful and moving book celebrating the achievements of Vera Chirwa, Malawi’s first female lawyer. A story of betrayal, imprisonment, torture and exile. An extraordinary human rights activist, Vera and her husband Orton Chirwa, Malawi’s former Justice Minister, were sentenced to death under the regime of President Hastings Banda. They spent 12 years in separate prisons before Orton died under what many regard as suspicious circumstances. Throughout their detention, Amnesty International campaigned on behalf of the Chirwas. Now Vera tells the remarkable story of her fight for justice and human rights.


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Vera Chirwa's story is one of betrayal, imprisonment, torture and exile. Yet it is also a story of hope, inspiration and extraordinary bravery. Born under British colonial rule, even as a child she was aware of the injustice meted out to her as an African and a girl.

While struggling for her education, she met and fell in love with Orton Chirwa, a charismatic teacher and activist. From then on their fates became intertwined with the politics of their country after independence. As a campaigner, politician, lawyer, wife and mother, Chirwa has left an indelible mark on Malawian politics. Her life embodies African struggles against colonialism and corruption.

In Fearless Fighter Chirwa talks about her past with immense courage and humour. This powerful and moving book celebrates her achievements and calls for greater awareness of the risks faced by human rights campaigners everywhere.

About the Author

Vera Chirwa is a lawyer and politician. She was the first Malawian woman ever to qualify as a lawyer and a founding member of the League of Malawi Women. After suffering nine years of detention without trial, she became a leading voice campaigning for human rights and civil society in Africa.

'She has faced every obstacle, every threat, every setback with courage and determination, and with faith that what she is doing is right...she is a remarkable person and hers is a remarkable story.' - Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International

'Beautifully and intelligently written, giving an introduction to Malawi's cultural and political history that is rarely heard.' - Jenny Bowie, Chartist.

Author: Vera Chirwa
ISBN: 978 1 84277 966 8
Format: Paperback, 128mm x 197mm, 208 pages
Publisher: Zed Books Ltd (29 Oct 2007)


Foreword by Amnesty International
Chapter 1 - A Family of Politicians
Chapter 2 - Against an Apartheid Federation
Chapter 3 - Independence
Chapter 4 - The Cabinet Crisis
Chapter 5 - Exile
Chapter 6 - We Have Got You Today
Chapter 7 - The Will to Live
Chapter 8 - Back in Civil Society
Chapter 9 - Human Rights at the Fingertips
Chapter 10 - Democracy under Threat
Chapter 11 - Human Rights Commissioner
Chapter 12 - The Power to Forgive Index

Additional info

Additional info

Code BA015
ISBN 978 1 84277 966 8


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