Dedza is a local government administrative district in the centre of Malawi.
The 2008 census gave the total population as 623,789. This is an increase of 137,107
(28%) over the 1998 census figure. Average household size has remained the same at
4.3 persons, so that the number of households has increased. Average density increased
from 134 to 172 persons per sq kilometre. In a rural area this puts tremendous pressure
on farming land.
53% of the population are under 18 (in UK 20% under 16). This high proportion of
young people creates problems for schooling and for future employment and population
The main town, Dedza Township, (pop 20,000) is 50 miles south of the
Malawi capital, Lilongwe, on the main road to the second city of Blantyre.
It is at a point on the Mozambique border where a trans-African highway from
Johannesburg enters the country. The town has banks, post office, supermarket,
filling stations, market, numerous small shops and some bars and restaurants.
There are other small market towns, each with post office, shops and workshops
distributed around the district - Lobi, Linthipe, Mayana, Mtakataka. However,
90% of the people live in small villages of thatched houses. They are
subsistence farmers, often working less than one hectare of land. The villages a
re connected to the highway by dirt roads. There is unlikely to be an electricity
supply. Most villages will have a borehole pump for clean water and there may be
a primary school shared by a number of villages.