Abstract

The mausoleum over former president Banda's grave and his statue in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, were unveiled in 2006 and 2009 respectively, with pomp and ceremony, and were hailed as giving Banda the honor and dignity he deserved. Both monuments were erected more than a decade after he had lost political power and died. However, his rule was not without controversy. While his supporters hail him as Ngwazi (Conqueror), Nkhoswe (guardian, protector, provider), savior or messiah of his people, and father and founder of the nation, his critics describe him as a demagogue and a vicious dictator. Frank Chipasula in 1981 in the poem "A Monument to a Tyrant," even imagined a statue of Banda that would portray him as a despot. This article examines the narratives in Banda's public monuments and Chipasula's imagined monument as contested narratives that problematize reconstructed nationalist memories of postcolonial African leaders such as Banda.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-1978
Print ISSN
0001-9887
Pages
pp. 2-21
Launched on MUSE
2010-07-29
Open Access
No
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