Over 2,000 People Have Signed A Petition Opposing A Gandhi Statue In Malawi

They find it offensive that instead of honouring a deserving Malawian such as John Chilembwe, the country’s foremost anti-colonialist hero,  the city council of Blantyre, Malawi has chosen to erect a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the city’s Ginnery Corner area.

It would appear that Gandhi, the subject of a 2015 book by two South Africa-based professors, is not a modern saint after all. According to the book titled ‘The South African Gandhi: Stretcher-Bearer of the Empire’, Gandhi was a racist who believed South African Indians were superior to native South Africans. Examining his writings, the authors uncovered Gandhi’s use of kaffir, a now-banned racist slur, in reference to black South Africans as well as several racist beliefs that contrast with his carefully cultivated global image as a symbol of peaceful resistance and the poster boy for civil rights activism.

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Citing the inferiority complex that makes often makes Africans value what’s foreign over what’s native to us, the petitioners, all black Malawians, are appalled that “a government institution would be in the forefront to promote a racist personality who has no connection to Malawi’s history whatsoever.” They also worry the statue “will create a deep-seated animosity” between Malawians and Indians.

If the statue is erected as planned, it will be one of three prominent sculptured monuments to Gandhi in Africa, preceded by a statue unveiled in Johannesburg in 2003 and another at the University of Ghana, itself the subject of a petition with over 2,000 signatories.

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