Malawians who were 18 at the time of independence in 1964 are now 71.
Attaining independence was an achievement of their lifetime, the end of a struggle that had started as early as 1915.
As nature slowly replaces this generation, questions ought to be asked if Independence Day should still remain as a national holiday.
The country, as we know it today, was created by the British in 1891. Before, Malawi comprised disjointed chieftainships and kingdoms with boundaries that were continuously changing as people migrated.
The creation of the Kings African Rifles (now Malawi Defence Force) on May14 1891 marked the beginning of the British Central Africa Protectorate, renamed Nyasaland in 1907 and then Malawi in 1964.
The ruler of the protectorate was a consul, who represented the Queen or King of England to the Kings and chiefs of Nyasaland.
This means Britain regarded the entire Malawi as belonging to the chiefs of Malawi.
In 1907, the title changed from consul to governor. The colonial government in Zomba was in charge and chiefs became mere spectators.
In 1915, some people began to protest the fact that ordinary Malawians had no say on the running of affairs of the State.
John Chilembwe was the first to openly protest against this. He later took up arms, resulting in regrettable deaths and suffering.
At the dawn of independence on July 6 1964, ordinary Malawians were set to start participating in the running of government affairs.
However, Malawi Congress Party (MCP), which was in power, declared the founding president Kamuzu Banda life president for the party in 1970. Government followed suit a year later.
Malawians lost their voice.
A new struggle began. The restoration of democracy following the referendum of June 14 1993 paved the way for people to reclaim their right to have a say in electing candidates to run the affairs of State.
The multiparty generation was as excited by this achievement as did those of the independence generation in 1964.
Some people born after 1964 argue that our forefathers were too quick to demand independence. They contend that we would have inherited a better country had the British ruled Malawi for a little longer.
The referendum generation has not been spared either. Already, some people claim that life was better under one-party State.
Adults who witnessed the referendum are now 42 years old and older.
As we celebrate our Independence Day this year, we ought to reflect on what is common in all struggles among Malawians across generations.
If we do not, future generations will not appreciate past struggles.
They will destroy the very foundations on which Malawi was built and start the same struggles all over again.
The fundamental struggle for mankind is universal.
Resources needed to extract happiness are always scarce, but failure to get the resources results in pain.
Over the years, people have learnt that the best way to have the best from life is to cooperate with others, to live as social beings, where what one does is agreeable in the eyes of the other.
Consciously and unconsciously, generations have been building on past exploits to define their own way of achieving happiness and avoiding pain.
The founding of Malawi in 1891, independence in 1964 and restoration of multiparty politics in1993 are just some of the exploits Malawians have used to create a social setting where Malawians make the most from life.
They are all candidates for a National Independence Day. On the day, each Malawian should reflect on their contribution to the goal of making Malawi a place for realising happiness. n