Malawi: Anti-Mahatma Gandhi Statue Activist in Malawi Writes Book On His Life Experience

Pemphero Wamwale Mphande, the concerned citizen who led the protest against the election of a statue for India's iconic figure, Mahatma Gandhi along a street of Blantyre has written a book on his life experience entitled 'What You See At Sunrise'.

Pemphero Mphande The other covers

Mphande, who came to prominence when his NGO, Citizens for Progressive Action protested on the plans by the Indian government to elect a statue of Gandhi at Ginnery Corner, also contested and lost as a Member of Parliament for Blantyre City South in the 2019 tripartite elections.

In the book, 'What You See At Sunrise', Mphande tells creative nonfiction contemporary Malawian stories that he has experienced as well as a fiction part telling stories about the present and past catering for all types of audiences.

"The first chapter of the book is a series of 7 fictional stories under the title 2019: 'The Year of Uprising'," he explains. "The chapter centers around a fictional figure, Mathulira who finds himself playing a key role in protests.

"It is dedicated to all who took part in the demonstrations for electoral justice for our country."

Mphande says this is his first book but has had several stories published with African Writers.

"I have always been a story teller. 'What You See At Sunrise' is also some of my mom's recollection of her life in my home village."

The book, which also centres on the protest against the Gandh statue, is set to be released in June or July in all three major cities of Blantyre, Lilongwe and Blantyre as well at the Chancellor College.

For the book's cover, Mphande held a design competition that was posted on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for people to vote for through retweets and likes.

Originally he intended to choose one best design but he came up with three beautiful ones and he decided to offer the other two consolation cash prizes.

The winner is Vic Nkhoma, who won a total of 710 likes from all platforms -- Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and will receive K50,000.

The runner-up, to receive MK20,000, is Wesley Lots with 645 likes with Denzel Banda on third with 619 likes from the same social media platforms and set to receive K10,000.

"The chosen book cover will get 10% of the first 25 books sold," Mphande said. "The idea to involve others in creating the book cover was to provide a platform for young creative minds to showcase their skills.

"By exposing them to the world, they can attract more potential customers. The three winners will also be invited to the book launch to be ceremoniously awarded and receive a free signed book.

"The editorial team has decided to reserve the right to choose the book cover from the top three. This decision has been made as we want to work with individual winners to get a cover from the winning ones that mirrors the book's featuring story better.

"From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank all for taking part in arguably the most positive thing in the dark times of the Coronavirus.

"Special thanks is to my promoter and manager Brian Chumbi for running the competition and chief editor Dr Joram Nyirongo, who is also a published columnist with The Sunday Times."

Mphande, 27, was born in Blantyre and has lived his life between Mzuzu and Blantyre.

He is a graduate from College of Medicine and currently works as the Director of Forum for AIDS Counseling and Training (FACT).

He intends to write more and reveals that his next project is a novel to be entitled 'The Dawn of Democracy'.

In the protest against the election of the Gandhi statue, Mphande's Citizens for Progressive Action argued that Gandhi was a racist who loathed black people and said hateful things about black people, particularly between 1893 and 1914 when he was in South Africa.

The group gave an example that Gandhi campaigned vigorously for the rights of Indians in South Africa during the apartheid system while seeking to relegate Africans as sub-humans in their own continent.

"He sought to separate Indians and black Africans at workplaces, prisons, trams, schools, neighbourhoods, warm-spring baths, footpaths, trams, trains and other public spaces," the group had said.

The petition went on to say that Gandhi never contributed anything to the history of this country and as such there is no need to have his statue in Malawi.

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