Activists celebrate Rafiq Hajat’s life

Malawians and Indiana from diverse backgrounds on Tuesday converged at Woodlands Hotel in Lilongwe on Tuesday night to celebrate the life of the departed human rights and social activist Rafiq Hajat.

Hajat, who founded and led Institute for Policy Interaction (IPI), died on September 13 2021 in South Africa.

However, although six feet under, his struggle for equality and justice for all human race lives on as demonstrated by the patronage to the memorial service in honour of his life.

Patel and other of Hajat’s friends clapping hands in honour of the contributions he made–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu

Emotional speeches featured highly at the service that attracted renowned governance and human rights activists such as Undule Mwakasungula, Ollen Mwalubunju and Habiba Osman, just to mention a few.

Speaking to journalists after the event, Mwakasungula described the departed Hajat as a fearless fighter who believed in equal justice.

“Although the passed away, we still celebrate his life because of the contribution he made the fight against social and economic injustices,” he said.

In her remarks, IPI Chairperson Nandin Patel said Hajat contributed immensely to the democratization process of the current Malawi.

Patel said the departed activist was among the high profile Malawians that led a movement against attempts by former President Bakili Muluzi to prolong his stay at the State House through his Third Term Bill.

Some of the activists that attended the Rafiq Hajat memorial service–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu

Hajat was born on 14 September 1955 in Blantyre and was a prominent Malawian civil rights activist.

Apart from leading IPI, which is one of the civil rights organizations that fought for democracy early 1990s, he was also the chairman of the Nyasa Junior Academy, a private school based in Blantyre.

During his lifetime, Hajat used to describe himself as “political activist and grassroots person”.

He once served as an executive member of the United Democratic Front (UDF), vice president of the country’s chamber of commerce and industry, chairman of Development of Malawian Traders’ Trust (DEMAT).

He received a B.A. in political science at Saint Xavier College in India in 1975.

Hajat is survived by a wife, children and grandchildren.

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