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Baptist preacher that influenced black liberation gets statue in London's Trafalgar Square

by Premier Journalist
samson_kambalu thumb.jpg - Banner image
Mayor of London

A statue commemorating the life and legacy of Malawian Baptist preacher John Chilembwe has been unveiled in London's Trafalgar Square.

Chilembwe fought against British colonial rule in the 20th century and is considered to have influenced several figures of black liberation such as Jamaican Marcus Garvey and John Langalibalele, the founding president of the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa.

Adorning the famous square's Fourth Plinth, the statue - titled Antelope - depicts a famous 1914 picture of Chilembwe standing next to British missionary John Chorley outside his village church both wearing a hat. 
Something that was forbidden for a black person while in presence of white people. 

The sculptor, Samson Kambalu added a twist to the statue making Chilembwe considerably taller than Chorley. 

"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.

Kambulu told PA: "Before the uprising he made a photograph with his friend, they were simply standing side by side wearing hats, and he distributed this photograph amongst his followers as a political stance to say 'We are equal to white people so I can wear a hat in front of a white person'.

"Of course, he was killed months later, but his message lived on."

Antelope marks the first statue of an African in Trafalgar Square and will remain there until 2024.

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