Rotavirus A strains detected in diarrhoeal children commonly possess any one of the genotypes G1, G2, G3, G4, and G9, with a recent increase in G12 detection globally. G12P strains possessing short RNA (DS-1-like) and long RNA (Wa-like) migration patterns accounted for 27 % of the strains circulating in Blantyre, Malawi, between 2007 and 2008. To understand how the G12P strains with two distinct genetic backgrounds emerged in Malawi, we conducted whole-genome analysis of two long-RNA and two short-RNA strains. While the former had a typical Wa-like genotype constellation of G12-P-I1-R1-C1-M1-A1-N1-T1-E1-H1, the latter was found to have G12-P-I2-R2-C2-M1-A2-N2-T2-E2-H2: a VP3 gene mono-reassortant on the DS-1-like backbone. Phylogenetic and Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo analyses showed that the short-RNA G12P strains were generated around 2006 by reassortment between an African Wa-like G12P strain donating three genes (the VP7, VP4, and VP3 genes) and a G2P strain similar to the one circulating in Thailand or the United States of America that donated the remaining eight genes. On the other hand, the long-RNA strains were generated as a result of reassortment events within Wa-like G12 and non-G12 strains commonly circulating in Africa; only the VP4 gene was from a Malawian G8P strain. In conclusion, this study uncovered the evolutionary pathways through which two distinct G12P strains emerged in Malawi.