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Malawi activists fight to block Gandhi statue

PICTURED: Statue of Mahatma Gandh (Photo credit: AFP)

AN ONLINE petition with more than 3,000 signatures have been making the rounds in Malawi as people protest against the government's decision to erect a stature of Mahatma Gandhi in Malawi's capital, Biantyre.

The petition reads: "In a recent book researched by Ashwin Desai and Goolam Vahed, professors at the University of Johannesburg and the University of KwaZulu Natal, uncovered in detail that Gandhi was an ardent racist who thought Africans were “Kaffirs”. Kaffir is a racial slur which was used to denigrate Africans during the colonial times. The word Kaffir is now a banned word in South Africa because of its racial connotations.

The government has responded by saying the statue of the Indian anti-colonial campaigner is aimed at recognising Gandhi's role in the struggle against colonialism in India and Africa.

However, according to BBC Africa a campaigner against the building of the statue, Mkotama Katenga-Kaunda, said that it was "offensive" to honour Gandhi, who had "nothing to do with Malawi".

"We don't even honour our heroes. The only statue we have is that of Hastings Kamuzu Banda, our first president," he added.

In 2016, a campaign was also launched to remove a statue of Gandhi from a university in Ghana.

You can see the petition here

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