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ideas have consequences

You are here:Home>>Strategic Research & Analysis>>Why is India pushing Malawi (African country) to erect statute of Gandhi in Malawi?
Sunday, 14 October 2018 19:54

Why is India pushing Malawi (African country) to erect statute of Gandhi in Malawi?

Written by Emeka Chiakwelu
Mahatma Gandhi Mahatma Gandhi


The mis-education of Africans is substantially profound and it has become a stumbling block, even detrimental to psychological liberation of Africa. Take for instance, in Nigeria and most African nations, the visiting Lebanese, Chinese and Indians are referred as ‘White people’ and accorded with first class treatment that cannot be given to Nigerian and African citizens.



Growing up in Nigeria we were taught in the social studies that Mungo Park, a Scottish explorer discovered River Niger.  None of our so-called educators and leaders have the common sense to question this lingering brainwash and mind engineering.




Now this takes me to Malawi. This is an east African country with a population of 18-19 million people with a GDP of slightly above $22 billion as of 2017 fiscal year.


In Malawi’s commercial capital of Blantyre a foundation has already been fabricated to construct a statute of the Indian social justice icon Mahatma Gandhi, a leader of Indian struggle for independent from Britain. 


Why this out of place statute in Malawi?  With due respect to Gandhi contribution to non-violent movement for social justice, Gandhi is an Indian hero and has no business in Malawi.  



“It is a condition from the Indian government through its high commission in the capital Lilongwe that if they are to invest in the construction of an arts conference center in Gandhi's name. The conference center is pegged at $10 Million (€8.6 million) with plans to be replicated in nine other African Countries.”




Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy  of recent has been controversial not because of social justice views but for his racist baggage that was unearthed by some Indian historians.   In the article written by Christina Okello, she delved into the racist view held by Gandhi against Blacks in South Africa where he resided before he went back to India:



"Gandhi, who lived in South Africa for 21 years, has long been a controversial figure. In 2015, the book The South African Gandhi: Stretcher-Bearer of Empire by scholars Ashwin Desai and Goolam Vahed revealed the extent of Gandhi's anti-Black racism. It argued that the independence leader's fight for the rights of Indians in colonial South Africa was spurred by his belief that Indians were innately superior to Black South Africans and that he advocated further segregation."

Gandhi in the letter he wrote to  Natal parliament in 1893 insisted that a “general belief seems to prevail in the Colony that the Indians are a little better, if at all, than savages or the Natives of Africa.”

“Indeed, when Gandhi began his stay in South Africa as a 24-year-old lawyer, he used to refer to Blacks as "Kaffirs", a term used to denigrate Africans during colonial times.”


“Later, he would get rid of these notions however, even asking for greater equality between Indians and Africans with the Europeans, says Chanda, pointing out that the independence leader underwent "a mental and psychological evolution."



Gandhi probably did have a change of mind on his racial stand against Blacks but his social justice movement took place in India and not in Malawi or Africa. Therefore the compulsive move by India government to compel Malawi to erect Gandhi statute is a prototypical  colonialistic mentality perpetuated by a developing nation that once suffered the burden of British colonialism.


Africa has become repository and Petri dish for exploitative experiments by foreign invaders. Subsequently, Africans have been conditioned to assimilate foreign influences without question.  Africans having Arabic and European first names have been accepted as normality, but hardly can you see an European or Arab with African names.



In age of imperialism, Africa was overwhelmed with slavery and colonialism. But steadily and gradually modern Africa with rising energetic intellectualism is rejecting mental slavery and neo-colonialism.



For instance, University of Ghana has banished the statue of Gandhi in the school campus and in Malawi a group of activists  named ‘Gandhi Must Fall’ have  collected more than 3,000 signed petition to block the planned stature.



“Mahatma Gandhi has never contributed anything to Malawi’s struggle for independence and freedom," a statement from the ‘Gandhi Must Fall’ group said. "We therefore feel that the statue is being forced upon the people of Malawi and is the work of a foreign power aiming at promoting its image and dominion on the unsuspecting people of Malawi.”



A committed India trying to build a sustainable civic relationship with Africa, should start by addressing ugly face of racism in their country where Black Africans are attacked by Indian natives because of the color of their skin.




Emeka  Chiakwelu, Principal Policy Strategist at AFRIPOL. His works have appeared in Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Forbes and many other important journals around the world. His writings have also been cited in many economic books, publications and many institutions of higher learning including Harvard Education and Oxford University. Africa Political & Economic Strategic Center (AFRIPOL) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last modified on Sunday, 21 October 2018 19:50