John Chilembwe’s statue unveiled in London’s Trafalgar Square

Kambalu stand in front of the statue in London

A larger-than-life statue of Malawian freedom fighter John Chilembwe has been unveiled in London’s historic Trafalgar Square.

The artwork named Antelope and made by Malawian Samson Kambalu depicts John Chilembwe and John Chorley, a European missionary. Chilembwe’s statue stands at five metres towering over that of Chorley’s.

The artwork restages a famous photograph taken in 1914 of Chilembwe standing next to British missionary Chorley, outside his church in Mbombwe village in southern Malawi.

“By increasing his scale, the artist elevates Chilembwe and his story, revealing the hidden narratives of underrepresented peoples in the history of the British Empire in Africa, and beyond,” says the Mayor of London’s website.

Speaking to the BBC, Kambalu who is an associate professor of fine art at the University of Oxford in England, expressed hope that the statue will start a conversation in Britain that is still coming to reckoning with their colonial past.

“The sculpture brings to light the forgotten histories of the empire, and society is looking for that recognition.”

Chilembwe, a pan-Africanist who inspired other freedom fighters,  was born in 1871 and grew up in Chiradzulu District.

Chilembwe later worked under Joseph Booth, a missionary, and the two eventually travelled to the US, where the Malawian studied theology in Virginia and witnessed the struggles of African Americans.

When he returned to Malawi as an ordained preacher, Chilembwe established a church as well as schools and farms in Chiradzulu.

However, during this time, white settlers were forcing Malawians off their land and Malawian soldiers were also being taken to Tanzania to fight against the German army in the World War One.

Chilembwe statue

Chilembwe expressed discontent over these injustices and in January 1915 he led an uprising against white settlers. The rebellion was not successful and Chilembwe was shot dead a few days later while trying to cross into what is now Mozambique.

Malawi eventually became independent in 1964 and today, Chilembwe is on banknotes and there are is a highway named after him. Malawi also celebrates John Chilembwe Day on January 15 every year.

According to the BBC, the Fourth Plinth, where Chilembwe’s statue has been placed,  is regarded as one of the world’s most famous public art commissions. Since 2003, the Fourth Plinth has been showcasing different pieces of artwork every two years.

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Vinny Visuals’ USA dream gets bigger  

Youthful videographer Vincent Kamulanje’s tour of the United States (US) appears to be bearing fruits after his initial two weeks got extended to months.

US-based entertainment firm Magic Fingers Entertainment initially invited the blossoming creative for a two-week Afro-beat music camp in Georgia, Atlanta, but extended his stay until December due to an increase in assignments and projects that he needs to undergo.

So far, the 19-year-old has shot a music video for Nigerian international super star Patoranking,to be released next month. He has also produced content for Nollywood actress Ini Edo as well as musicians Wurld and Shizzi Akerele.

During his stay in the US, Kamulanje, who trades under the Vinny Visuals brand, also underwent a two-week training in film production and editing at Tyler Perry’s Studio.

The Malawian said he is also expected to go for attachments at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, where he will train in filmmaking and collaborate with another popular Nigerian singer Timaya on an upcoming project.

He said in a telephone interview from Georgia, Atlanta: “Everything is progressing well. I have been involved in a number of projects and trainings which have proved to be eye-opening. I can say so far so good.”

Vinny Visuals said his experience in the US has expanded his artistic network as it has exposed him to some of the household names in the global show business.

Patoranking is a Nigerian reggae dancehall singer and songwriter who has worked with renowned African acts such as Sauti Sol and Timaya. He is currently signed under Foston Musik Label and he has produced some chart-topping hits such as Gilrie O.

Tyler Perry Studio is among the largest film production studios in the US founded and owned by renowned African-American actor, film director and author Tyler Perry and it is based in Atlanta, Georgia.  

On the other hand, Universal Studios Florida is a theme park located in Orlando and is primarily themed to movies, television and other aspects of the entertainment industry. It is owned and operated by NBC Universal.

Magic Fingers Entertainment LCC is co-owned by US-based Malawian musician Tionge Mhango and Nigerian music producer Oluwaseyi Shizzi Akerele.

The company said the objective of the camp is to empower young song writers, producers and videographers from around the world by bringing them together to share their creativity and ideas.


The Hill’s Morning Report — Hurricane Ian roars into Florida

​​🌀 Hurricane Ian is poised to strike Florida’s Gulf Coast with winds that could initially measure 140 mph as it makes landfall across a broad swath of the state this afternoon with severe conditions lasting into Thursday, followed by tropical storm conditions on Friday, according to forecasts of the Category 4 monster approaching slowly this morning at about 10 mph. 

After leaving Cuba in the dark after lashing the island on Tuesday, what could be a history-making and destructive direct hit encouraged Floridians to board up, fill sandbags, locate shelters and heed official warnings to relocate out of the storm’s path.

“Ian is forecast to approach the west coast of Florida as an extremely dangerous major hurricane,” the National Hurricane Center said.

The Hurricane Center’s 5 a.m. ET forecast noted the storm’s forward motion is expected to slow today after landfall, “followed by a turn toward the north on Thursday. On the forecast track, the center of Ian is expected to approach the west coast of Florida within the hurricane warning area this morning and move onshore later today. The center of Ian is forecast to move over central Florida tonight and Thursday morning and emerge over the western Atlantic by late Thursday.”

The storm shifted its direction slightly and was reported at 5 a.m. to be about 75 miles west-southwest of Naples. The cities and towns up and down the state’s heavily populated white sandy coastline have been preparing for what could be as much as 15 feet of storm surge and flooding. Between the wind and water, the National Hurricane Center warned that “locations may be uninhabitable for weeks or months” (The Washington Post).

The hurricane has rearranged airline and cruise schedules, closed Disney World and supermarkets, disrupted businesses and placed hospital personnel on high alert. It is not expected to affect gasoline supplies or gas prices (CNN).

The Hill: Why Hurricane Ian poses a unique threat to Tampa Bay.

The Hill: Florida prepares for Hurricane Ian’s wrath.

President Biden and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida on Tuesday admonished residents to heed official directions to evacuate or voluntarily take shelter inland, instructions affecting millions of people. The two men spoke on Tuesday night and pledged “continued close cooperation,” the White House said on Twitter.

The president described federal prepositioning of emergency response teams and supplies in coordination with the governor, local officials and law enforcement throughout the Sunshine State.

Citizens in the potential impact area should obey the instructions of local officials. Evacuate when ordered,” Biden said after speaking by phone with the mayors of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater in the state. “Safety is more important than anything.”

As previous presidents and governors learned, major hurricanes challenge emergency management and coordination, can cause tragic loss of life and property, and render political verdicts among elected leaders from the White House on down. 

DeSantis on Tuesday delivered regular televised updates to the public about everything from suspension of highway tolls to the number of shelters accepting pets (WFLA News Channel 8). He said 5,000 National Guard were activated from Florida plus 2,000 from neighboring states. Search and rescue teams and helicopter evacuation crews were activated, if needed, he added.

Hurricane Andrew in Florida in 1992, Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and Texas in 2005, and Hurricane Sandy along northeastern coastal states in 2012 are reminders that rapid and effective emergency response — and greater clarity about who is in charge — has evolved in law and practice as deadly and increasingly costly weather events occur with greater frequency. 

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The Hill’s Niall Stanage: DeSantis faces a make-or-break moment with hurricane response.

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CNN: How former President Trump and DeSantis are already splitting the conservative movement.  

Time: How Democrats gave DeSantis a pass.



As the public’s focus zeroes in on Florida, the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attacks postponed a public hearing scheduled this afternoon. A new date was not announced (The Hill).

“In light of Hurricane Ian bearing down on parts of Florida, we have decided to postpone tomorrow’s proceedings,” committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said in a Tuesday statement. The Select Committee’s investigation goes forward and we will soon announce a date for the postponed proceedings.”

Members of the panel remain tight-lipped about what they were planning on discussing during Wednesday’s hearing, but many acknowledged the difficulties of compiling the sheer amount of information the committee has gathered (The Hill).

The New York Times: House Jan. 6 panel faces key decisions as it wraps up work.

Meanwhile, senators overwhelmingly voted to advance Majority Leader Charles Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) comprehensive stopgap spending bill to avoid a government shutdown. The shell of the bill, which passed a test vote 72-23, will proceed through both chambers ahead of the Friday funding deadline (The Hill). 

The vote comes after Schumer announced the removal of Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) permitting reform language from the bill (The Hill). Manchin’s bill, which faced criticism from both sides of the aisle, looked to jeopardize the whole spending package.

“It is unfortunate that members of the United States Senate are allowing politics to put the energy security of our nation at risk,” Manchin said in a Tuesday statement. “The last several months, we have seen firsthand the destruction that is possible as Vladimir Putin continues to weaponize energy. A failed vote on something as critical as comprehensive permitting reform only serves to embolden leaders like Putin who wish to see America fail.”

As The Hill’s Alexander Bolton writes, Senate Republicans worked to defeat Manchin’s permitting reform bill “in a show of political payback” after he supported the Democrats’ tax and climate legislation earlier this summer. Some see the move as proof that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is looking ahead to 2024, when Manchin will be up for reelection, and did not want to give the West Virginia Democrat a big win in his Republican-leaning state.

Politico: Manchin folds on his energy plan amid GOP stonewall.

Bloomberg News: Manchin pulls energy permitting plan from government funding bill.

Roll Call: Manchin relents, asks Schumer to drop permitting language.

Vox: The unlikely allies who sank Manchin’s energy deal.

The Hill: White House hits GOP over removal of Manchin permitting reform.

McConnell on Tuesday also announced his support of the Senate’s Electoral Count Reform Act, which aims to protect future elections by making changes to the 1887 Electoral Count Act. The bill, introduced by Manchin and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), would make it more difficult to challenge the outcome of a presidential election (The Hill).

“I strongly support the Collins legislation as introduced, and assuming that we make no changes here today, or at the most technical changes, I’ll be proud to vote for it and to help advance it,” McConnell said in a floor speech.

In supporting the bill, McConnell breaks ties with former President Trump, who has pressed Republicans to vote against it. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) opposed the version of the legislation that his chamber approved last week (The Washington Post).

House Democrats on Tuesday introduced a long-awaited bill that would bar members of Congress, federal judges, Supreme Court justices, the president and others from trading stocks and attempt to crack down on conflicts of interest throughout the government.

The bill — introduced by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) — follows a growing push to ban lawmakers from trading stocks, “amid reports that members have violated laws meant to prevent conflicts of interests involving financial transactions” (The Hill).

The New York Times: Despite their influence and extensive access to information, members of Congress can buy and sell stocks with few restrictions.



North Carolina Democrats believe their state’s hotly contested Senate race offers the party one of its best shots at flipping a GOP-held seat in November, The Hill’s Max Greenwood reports, and are asking outside groups for more funds. Polling averages show Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) and former state Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley (D) deadlocked in the race to succeed retiring Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.). 

Strategists and operatives lament that the race has largely flown under the radar for national Democrats and warn against missing an opportunity to flip a seat in a state that’s been competitive for the party in recent years.

NBC News: Democratic super PAC launches new ad in the North Carolina Senate race. 

Roll Call: The fight for the Senate: Fundamentals, polling and opposition research. 

The New York Times: Will North Carolina’s Senate race break Democratic hearts again?

Reuters: Eight Senate races to watch in November’s midterm elections.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has gone around the world in 80 days — figuratively speaking. As The Hill’s Mike Lillis reports, Pelosi has spent much of the year hopping around the globe, visiting war zones and political hotspots, and bringing new attention to old conflicts and simmering diplomatic history. In the process, Pelosi has made some history, invited some controversy — and raised plenty of questions about whether her world tour is pure diplomacy, power politics or the swan song performance of a historic Speaker who may be readying an exit from Capitol Hill.

“It’s a combination of all three,” said Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), a 24-year veteran and former member of Pelosi’s leadership team. 

Roll Call: Midterm elections could set another turnout record this year.

FiveThirtyEight: How Black Americans reshaped politics In Georgia.

The Washington Post: How McCarthy’s political machine worked to sway the GOP field.


■ Florida’s grid, as Hurricane Ian arrives, should benefit from lessons of the past, by Theodore J. Kury, opinion contributor, The Hill.

■  Is Nord Stream the latest victim of Putin’s pettiness? by Jessica Karl, editor, Bloomberg Opinion.


The House meets at noon.

The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. to resume deliberations about a continuing resolution to fund the government before the fiscal year ends on Friday. … Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) will speak at 1 p.m. at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.

The president receives the President’s Daily Briefing at 8 a.m. Biden at 10 a.m. will address a White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health gathered in downtown Washington with a goal of ending hunger and reducing diet-related diseases in the United States by 2030. The administration previewed an action plan intended to address U.S. food, hunger, nutrition and health challenges (The Washington Post). The president and first lady Jill Biden will speak at 11 a.m. about the benefits of the Americans with Disabilities Act and help mark Disability Pride Month. Biden will receive a briefing from his economic team in the Roosevelt Room at 1:15 p.m. The president will attend a reception in Washington for the Democratic Governors Association at 7 p.m. and return to the White House.

Vice President Harris today is in Tokyo. She will host a discussion with Japanese semiconductor business executives at 10:15 a.m. JST. Harris will travel to the Yokosuka Naval Base to board the USS Howard for a tour and briefing at 2:45 p.m. JST, then meetings with service members aboard the ship. The vice president will give a speech at 3:45 p.m. JST on the ship and then depart the base for Hardy Barracks. Harris is scheduled on Thursday to travel to the demilitarized zone between North Korea and South Korea, according to the White House.  

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera at the State Department at 10 a.m. He will speak at 11:15 a.m. at a signing with the Millennium Challenge Corporation of a memorandum of understanding along with Chakwera, Malawian Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Sosten Gwengwe and corporation CEO Alice Albright. At noon, the secretary will participate in a working lunch during a meeting of U.S. leaders and those from Pacific Island countries.

The first lady at noon will address the 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) at a conference in Alexandria, Va., part of the White House’s Joining Forces initiative.

The White House daily press briefing is scheduled at 12:30 p.m.

🖥 Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features news and interviews at, on YouTube and on Facebook at 10:30 a.m. ET. Also, check out the “Rising” podcast here.



U.S. consumers during August and September grew more optimistic about the U.S. economy (CNN), yet 71 percent of workers in a separate survey say their wages and compensation are not keeping up with inflation (CNN).

As Americans gauge the risks of a U.S. recession ahead, there’s been a stampede this week of predictions that a global recession is brewing. 

The Federal Reserve argues it has a path to tame inflation through a series of aggressive interest rate hikes this year while achieving a “soft landing,” or avoidance of a U.S. recession including high unemployment, even while projecting future “pain.” Economists and markets are dubious about the soft landing scenario, and even central bankers acknowledge risks. The New York Times explains some of the reasons the central bank describes a rosier picture, leading with a strong U.S. jobs market.

But because the Fed insists its target inflation rate remains 2 percent compared with a current annualized inflation rate above 8 percent, some economists believe a deep recession would be needed to achieve that central bank target, based on models drawn from past recessions. 

Harvard Kennedy School economic policy professor Jason Furman, previously a White House adviser to former Presidents Clinton and Obama, told Bloomberg TV on Tuesday, “It’s possible the Fed chooses to stop before 2 percent. I actually think that would be a worthwhile thing to consider. If there’s an opportunity to lock in a credible 3 percent inflation rate, I think that would be terrific.” 

Charles Evans, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, told CNBC Europe on Tuesday that the Fed’s perspective offers “a path for employment stabilizing at something that still is not a recession. But there could be shocks.” 

Global recession worries in many cases are outside U.S. control, including the projections tied to the United Kingdom’s budget and tax cuts and unknowable winter temperatures in Europe, which could drive up high-priced energy demand.

Any time you are trying to … go between buildings on the high wire, you’re worried about a big gust of wind coming up,” St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said on Tuesday at an economic forum in London, referring to the path the Fed is trying to walk between controlling U.S. inflation without triggering a serious downturn. “Talk about the recession story should be more on a global basis than a U.S. basis,” he said, with the possibility of Europe and China pulling the rest of the world into a downturn (Reuters).

U.S. officials late on Tuesday spoke with Danish counterparts about reports of explosions and “apparent sabotage” as the cause of dramatic leaks of natural gas from pipelines beneath the Baltic Sea near Denmark (The Hill). Blinken earlier on Tuesday said sabotage was unconfirmed and he predicted the leaking gas would not undermine European energy security (Bloomberg News and CNN). Neither of the Nord Stream pipelines was pumping gas to Europe at the time the leaks began. The CIA in June issued a vague warning to European allies that the pipelines could be targeted for attack (The New York Times).

The incidents raised new doubts that Europe could receive natural gas before winter via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which links Russian gas with Germany’s market.

Reuters: European Union believes sabotage likely in leaking Russian gas pipelines.

The Hill: Medicare Part B premiums will drop by 3 percent in 2023 for the first time in a decade, the Biden administration said on Tuesday.

The Hill: Who is helped and hurt by the surging U.S. dollar?

Bloomberg News: Gun violence costs the United States $557 billion a year, according to a new study. Losses in revenue and productivity cost employers $535 million a year — on top of added insurance spending.


Rising COVID-19 case numbers in the United Kingdom could be a warning sign that the U.S. is headed for a similar fall wave, experts say. Cases across the pond don’t seem to be driven by a new subvariant, although several — including BA.5 and BF.7 — are gaining strength on both sides of the Atlantic (CNN).

“Generally, what happens in the U.K. is reflected about a month later in the US. I think this is what I’ve sort of been seeing,” Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, told CNN.

CNN: Study links COVID-19 vaccination to small, temporary change in menstrual cycle. 

ProPublica: The COVID-19 booster’s public relations problem.

Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported as of this morning, according to Johns Hopkins University (trackers all vary slightly): 1,057,273. Current average U.S. COVID-19 daily deaths are 353, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


The U.S. and its allies are mobilizing the international community to reject Russian attempts to annex territory in Ukraine, in a move that Kyiv hopes will spur greater military support to deliver Moscow a decisive battlefield defeat (The Hill). The United States, Europe and NATO should now increase delivery of heavy artillery, tanks and war planes to Kyiv, argue some of Ukraine’s hawkish advocates.

The Washington Post: Russia is on the cusp of land seizures with Tuesday’s staged referendums in four partially occupied regions in eastern and southern Ukraine.

Experts say the administration’s posture of vowing unspecified U.S. consequences if Russia uses nuclear weapons in the war with Ukraine is correct, especially given the uncertainty around Russian President Vladimir Putin’s thinking. The U.S. version of strategic ambiguity is an effort to avoid escalation (The Hill).

The Hill: Ukraine warned this week of “massive” Russian cyberattacks against critical infrastructure. 

Bloomberg News: Russia declares victory in sham Ukraine ‘referendums.’

Since Biden said this month that American forces would defend Taiwan against an invasion by China, he’s been pushing the boundary on the U.S. stance on Taiwan, write The Hill’s Alex Gangitano and Laura Kelly. Despite efforts by senior advisers — including Blinken — to soften Biden’s message, experts and analysts say the president’s rhetoric reflects a keen use of language that walks right up to the line of America’s capabilities.

👉 Don’t miss the work of photojournalists working inside Ukraine’s battle zones to capture images of the war’s impacts. The New York Times published a wide-ranging slideshow on Tuesday (one of the photos is below) as well as additional images by award-winning photographer Tyler Hicks, who illustrated some of the Times’ report on Monday from the Donbas region. 

The New York Times: Iran’s foreign minister denied his country sent weapons to Russia to fight Ukraine.


And finally … 🍁🍃🍂 Autumn lovers, rejoice. The official start of fall means leaf peeping season is upon us, and foliage becomes a sea of red, orange and yellow for a few short weeks. 

Want to make the most of the leafy season? National Geographic has rounded up the 10 best national parks to visit to witness one of the Northern Hemisphere’s most colorful seasonal phenomena. 

As for why the leaves change color, it’s about chlorophyll, which is responsible for a green pigment during the warmer months. As temperatures drop and the sun’s angle changes, chlorophyll breaks down, leaving behind whatever pigment is present in the leaf — and giving the canopy those vivid autumnal hues (NewsNation).

Stay Engaged

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Malawi’s John Chilembwe gets statue in London’s Trafalgar Square

Central London’s historic Trafalgar Square is set to get a new statue on Wednesday.

But this time, it is not a monument to one of the UK’s war heroes or kings. Instead it will be a larger-than-life statue of Malawian Baptist preacher and pan-Africanist John Chilembwe, who fought against British colonial rule.

The sculpture, named Antelope, will be the square’s newest Fourth Plinth – which is regarded as one of the world’s most famous public art commissions.

Since 2003, the Fourth Plinth has been showcasing different pieces of artwork every two years. While it was originally intended to display a statue of King William IV, it remained empty due to insufficient funds and now exhibits temporary art, selected through public consultation and the commissioning group.

Chilembwe’s five-metre statue will mark the first of an African in Trafalgar Square.

Cast in bronze, Antelope restages a famous photograph taken in 1914 of Chilembwe standing next to British missionary John Chorley, outside his church in Mbombwe village in southern Malawi.

In the picture, Chilembwe is wearing a wide-brimmed hat, breaching a colonial rule which forbade Africans to wear hats in front of white people.

John Chilembwe and John Chorley
John Chilembwe, seen with John Chorley, led an uprising against colonial rule

While the two stand together in the photo, when it comes to the statue the sculptor has added a twist that means that the image of the Malawian catches people’s eye.

Malawian-born artist Samson Kambalu designed the piece to make Chilembwe much larger than Chorley. His statue stands at five metres towering over that of Chorley’s.

“By increasing his scale, the artist elevates Chilembwe and his story, revealing the hidden narratives of underrepresented peoples in the history of the British Empire in Africa, and beyond,” says the Mayor of London’s website.

Although the monument takes centre stage in London, Chilembwe remains an unknown figure to many.

“Many people may not know who John Chilembwe is. And that is the whole point,” says Kambalu, an associate professor of fine art at the University of Oxford in England.

Chilembwe is widely acknowledged as one of the first Africans to fight against colonial injustices in the 20th Century, staging an uprising against the British in Malawi (formerly Nyasaland) in 1915.

Although the uprising was short-lived, his actions reverberated across the continent and beyond.

Chilembwe is considered to have influenced several figures of black liberation, including Jamaican political activist Marcus Garvey, and John Langalibalele Dube, the founding president of what went on to become the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa.

A view of Antelope at the National Gallery on May 24, 2021 in London, England
The sculptor has played with the scale of the photograph and increased the size of Chilembwe

Chilembwe was born in the early 1870s, and grew up in southern Malawi’s Chiradzulu District.

He was one of four children, with his father originating from the Yao people and his mother from the Mang’anja community.

Growing up in Chiradzulu, Chilembwe was heavily influenced by Scottish missionaries who went to Malawi following in the footsteps of explorer David Livingstone.

It was here that Chilembwe first met a radical missionary, Joseph Booth, whose famous dictum was “Africa for Africans”.

Chilembwe became one of Booth’s early protégés, and the two eventually travelled to the US, where he studied theology in Virginia.

During his time in the US, Chilembwe witnessed the struggles of African Americans during the reconstruction period after the abolition of slavery.

Several years later, he left the US emboldened to tackle the colonial injustices he saw in his own country.

Once back in Malawi, an ordained Chilembwe worked to establish a mission in Chiradzulu.

He built a brick church, several schools, and planted crops of cotton, tea and coffee, with financial backing from the US.

Anti-colonial resistance

He returned to find fast-growing resistance against the British regime, derived from new laws which pushed Malawians off their land, while many were also forced to work on white-owned plantations under poor conditions.

Chilembwe had further grievances with the colonialists after the outbreak of World War One, where Malawian soldiers were taken to fight against the German army in what is now Tanzania.

Publicising his discontent, he wrote a letter to the only newspaper in circulation at the time. It is thought that shortly after his letter he began planning his rebellion, which began in January 1915.

However, Chilembwe’s attempt to attack white settlers was quickly foiled and British forces raised the alarm early on.

His uprising claimed only a few casualties, and the British army put out a reward for Chilembwe and his supporters.

A few days later, he was shot dead by African soldiers while trying to cross into what is now Mozambique.

Although his rebellion was unsuccessful, historians say that Chilembwe’s attempt created the groundwork for Africa’s independence movements. Malawi became independent in 1964.

Today, Chilembwe’s legacy can be seen across Malawi. Several roads have been named after him, while his photo appears on the country’s currency, the kwacha, as well as stamps.

Malawi money
Chilembwe’s image appears on Malawian bank notes

John Chilembwe Day is also celebrated every year on 15 January.

However, historians say there is an ongoing debate about his relevance.

“Every year on Chilembwe Day, the newspapers and online publications will write essays to debate his legacy,” says Malawian historian Muti Michael Phoya.

“While most agree that he is very important in Malawi’s history, some say he staged his uprising too early,” continued Mr Phoya. “But Kambalu’s sculpture may rekindle this dialogue and we may see renewed interest in his story.”

Kambalu agrees saying he hopes the statue “will start a conversation in Britain that is still coming to reckoning with their colonial past.

“The sculpture brings to light the forgotten histories of the empire, and society is looking for that recognition.”


Reasonable Left, Irresponsible Right: & the Future of Social Democracy

Civil Society, Democracy, Featured, Global, Global Governance, Headlines, Human Rights, TerraViva United Nations


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VIENNA, Sep 28 2022 (IPS) – With no shortage of catastrophes in the past 15 years worldwide — the democratic left is stepping up to provide stability amid the storm.

Throughout the history of mankind, there have been catastrophes. In modern times, there have also been media representations of catastrophe, including worked-up or even imagined catastrophes.

More than 60 years ago, the German author Friedrich Sieburg wrote about the ‘lust for doom’, which, strangely enough, has a tremendous appeal especially in eras perceived as stable: ‘The everyday life of democracy with its dreary problems is boring, but the impending catastrophes are highly interesting.’

Now that we have had no shortage of real catastrophes in the past 15 years, we no longer have to conjure them up. First came the global financial crisis, which threatened to topple banks and other financial institutions — even states — as if houses of cards.

Later the pandemic arrived and then the military invasion of the second largest country in Europe by the largest. Its shockwaves are devastating half the world, with energy crisis, broken supply chains, price explosion, food shortages, impoverishment and destitution.

Robert Misik

And all the time comes the onrushing climate catastrophe, whose consequences are already apparent and which intersects with the current geopolitical crisis. The global electricity markets are going crazy because there is a lack of gas from Russia, but also because the rivers are drying up, the hydroelectric power plants are empty and nuclear power plants have to be shut down because the cooling water in the rivers is becoming too scarce — even the coal-fired plants are having problems where coal can no longer be shipped.

In any case, disaster is not now something we frivolously imagine because we are bored. It is there — very real for many and at least felt by most. Not only does it colour political debates but an atmosphere of pessimism, insecurity and fear has settled over most societies.

This is so even, perhaps especially, in the affluent societies of the west, which had become accustomed to stability and relative prosperity. A sentiment is spreading: the whole machinery no longer works, it is broken — and the political elites have no plan.

The left choosing stability

Against this backdrop, while the left is trying to develop programmes and instruments to master the crises, to stem the decline in prosperity and the social costs for ordinary people, those on the hard right are betting on things getting even worse, playing up catastrophe.

They hope this will benefit them, that they can thereby achieve electoral success — as with the right-wing radicals in Sweden recently or the right-wing bloc in Italy over the weekend.

It’s no surprise, then, that the far-right contenders paint the ‘elite’ and its networks in dark colours. They rummage through supposedly suppressed news and hidden secrets. They identify, to their satisfaction, how the powerful secure their dominance and say all this is connected. They imagine themselves as if detectives smugly putting pieces of the political puzzle together, in the manner of a latter-day Hercule Poirot.

It is not a completely new phenomenon to offer such a fundamental critique of ‘the system’. What is astonishing is that the far right has hijacked what used to be a prerogative of Marxist intellectuals — and of those activists who imagined a terminal catastrophe would some day issue in a socialist millennium.

Right-wing propaganda has appropriated elements of left-wing critical thinking — the questioning of the conventional and familiar, of the all-too-obvious, and the healthy suspicion of power. Amazingly, the motifs of the enlightenment have been subverted to serve conspiracy theories and fanaticism, in the cause of authoritarianism and nationalism.

The democratic left, in sharp contrast, sees its task today, grosso modo, as providing stability amid the storm. Of course, this is true where it is in government. But it in most cases it also has this reflex of responsibility where it is in opposition.

This has consequences. The left sometimes finds itself defending the status quo, against its deterioration. It knows it cannot score points with simple answers but has to work out complex plans whose realisation is tough.

This liberal left has always stood for freedom, democracy, the rule of law — for social equality and against hierarchy and fascist temptations. The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has however drawn his country back into despotism in recent decades, aligned with an ideology of expansionism.

While the radical right (and some pro-Russian hard leftists) propose to kneel to Putin, the democratic left supports Ukraine’s right to self-defence and an independent path.

Russia’s imperialism has been met with sanctions from liberal Europe and north America, rebutted in turn in an economic quasi-war with the help of the ‘weapon’ of gas and oil. Yet in a multipolar and chaotic world where not all are on their side, progressives find themselves having to balance decisiveness and prudence.

Now their own economies must be stabilised and protected, and their societies, because the supply of energy and the functioning of the critical infrastructure has a much broader social centrality. This includes changes in the design of energy markets, which simply no longer function when panic on the markets leads to price explosions of 600 or even 1,000 per cent.

The colonisation of lifeworlds by market ideology has however meant that even the essential goods of everyday infrastructure have been left to the mercy of the markets. Energy suppliers which get into trouble have thus to be bailed out by governments.

The dangers of ‘politics without a project’

The effects of inflation are also different from what we know from economics textbooks. Classic inflation occurs when there is a boom, an economy reaches the limits of its capacity and there is more or less full employment. Then asset owners lose, while borrowers gain. But above all, workers and employees do not really lose out: prices rise but so do wages.

Classical inflation is characterised by a wage-price spiral in which real wages rise along with them. Historically, wage earners lost out primarily because of anti-inflationary policies, not because of inflation.

Today, however, inflation is not the result of a boom but an economic shock: it is imported, primarily due to higher energy prices and supply problems. Many companies too are groaning under their energy overheads, as they cannot fully pass on the cost increase to consumers. This in turn will mean workers will not be able to make up fully for price increases through wage rises.

The unions will fight but it will be very difficult to avoid real wage losses. Low wage increases lead to impoverishment and a decline in aggregate demand but high wage increases would lead to more bankruptcies and thus more unemployment.

The most likely result will be a combination of misfortune — a marked recession plus high inflation. Government will have to intervene with price controls, by dramatically accelerating the shift to renewable energy, by providing payments to the most vulnerable segments of the population, by accepting further budget deficits.

None of these solutions will be perfect. We must be careful not to enter a new era of depoliticised pragmatism — a ‘politics without a project’, to borrow an old formulation from a famous German book edited by the legendary Suhrkamp publisher Siegfried Unseld 30 years ago. But there will tend to be no grand design to policy, just muddling through.

Public debates will be characterised by a certain confusion, as we are already observing. On the one hand, most citizens want clear and focused plans, but at the same time they know that there are no easy, simplistic answers.

A pandering left-wing populism is therefore not an attractive alternative. It is not only a too-narrow preaching to the converted but also there is a broad swath of potential support among liberal and left citizens for a politics of reason and responsibility.

In times of such uncertainty, we do not need trumpeters and bullshiters. We need people who can be trusted to do the best they can to sort things out.

Robert Misik is a writer and essayist. He publishes in many German-language newspapers and magazines, including Die Zeit and Die Tageszeitung.

Source: International Politics and Society is published by the Global and European Policy Unit of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Hiroshimastrasse 28, D-10785 Berlin.

IPS UN Bureau