But the character of Lilongwe isn't found in the permanent buildings, but much more in the marketplaces that dominate the city. There is one huge marketplace, that used to be broken up into lots of smaller ones, but the government got tired of complaints of street harassment and forced everyone into a large marketplace area.
Here is a recording of the marketplace.
I do want to point out something i found really neat, at the marketplace they had one area where people played pool outside...
The other prominent feature of Lilongwe that i found was the mini buses. It shouldn't be a surprise to most that cars are a luxury that ordinary malawans don't have access to. And while i saw a ton of bicycles on the rural area roads, the roads in Lilongwe had far fewer bicycles. (still prominent, but nothing like China in the 80s.). Instead the city is dominated by private buses, and they were univerally these volkswagen white "mini-busses." They were everywhere and they charge a small fee. There are no "bus stops", but there are prominent stops that you can find 2-3 mini buses waiting to pick up enough passengers to go to a destination.
There were however, bus depots, or areas where these buses gather to take people outside of lilongwe. And in many ways these bus areas were even more loud and raucous than the marketplace. People came up constantly to ask if you wanted a cab to go somewhere.Here is a recording done at the depot.
I am not sure there is anything to this, but i find it interesting that in nearly every single city, there are people who like to play games outside. Whether it be chess or something like this African game, which has many names, but here in Malawi it is just called Bao.
Here are some vendors playing,